It is now a year since the Courts introduced a procedure which means that anyone who wants to go to Court in any Family Proceedings, i.e. children matters or financial matters on the breakdown of a marriage or relationship, have to consider whether mediation may be an appropriate way to resolve the issues.
The reason for this is simple; there are many advantages to resolving issues on the breakdown of a relationship through mediation than through the Courts. Mediation is a voluntary process so the Courts expect parties to consider mediation (by meeting with a Family Mediator and finding out about the process) but if mediation is not appropriate for any reason an application can still be made to Court.
Mediation allows the parties to make their own agenda and decide for themselves what they want to discuss. The mediator is an impartial third party who assists the parties to reach an agreement which they are both able to accept but the decisions are their own and not imposed on them by anyone else as would be the case if left to a Judge to decide in Court. Mediators are unable to give legal advice as that would compromise their impartiality.
Generally mediation is a quicker and cheaper option than Court proceedings. It is also much more likely to leave the parties in a situation where they are able to have a better relationship as separate parties. This is particularly important where the parties have children. Children usually want their parents to get along even if they can’t live together and children whose parents are able to agree the arrangements for the children will usually adapt to their parents’ separation better. Parties can discuss in the Mediation sessions how they would like to communicate with each other in the future.
Wolferstans offers a full range of options for parties to consider on the breakdown of a relationship. As well as having Collaborative Lawyers and Lawyers who can advise about the Court process, Kate Westmacott is the Head of the Family Mediation Team. If you would like any more information about mediation please contact our Mediation Co-ordinator Morwenna Luxford-Leach on 01752 292315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.