Family Courts now expect you to consider using family mediation to resolve matters concerning your children, property and finances if you are going through a separation or divorce.
An initial separate meeting with a mediator will prepare you for the mediation itself which is when the mediator will sit with you both to agree a resolution and help you to make decisions about your family’s future. Mediation means that you are in control of the outcome rather than having a decision imposed upon you which neither of you may want. It is also less acrimonious.
A full exchange of financial information enables you to understand exactly what your position is and what sort of settlement will suit you best. Parenting plans can be part of your agreement and children’s views can also be obtained. Many children welcome the opportunity to speak to the mediator who understands their family situation.
When you are happy with the proposals and have taken any independent legal advice needed, the mediator will record in detail what has been agreed and this can be made legally binding by solicitors.
Legal Aid may be available to pay some or all of the costs. The mediator will assess eligibility at the outset.
Mediation sessions with our specialist, experienced mediators generally last one and a half to two hours each. The number of sessions depends on the issues involved. Three or four sessions are not uncommon, but more or less may be needed. Family mediation can take place at any of our offices in Gillingham, Shaftesbury, Sturminster Newton and Warminster. Farnfields also runs mediation sessions in Yeovil.
Our solicitors can make your agreement legally binding, if you choose to do so and have attended mediation sessions elsewhere. Mediation is an excellent alternative to court, cheaper and less stressful!
Understanding Family Mediation – a short video below from the Ministry of Justice.