What is mediation?
Mediators are trained to help people resolve disputes. A mediator will meet with you and your partner and will identify those issues you can’t agree on and help you to try and reach agreement. Mediators are neutral and will not take sides in any dispute. They are not advisors and will not give advice on your individual position to either of you and will usually recommend that you each obtain legal advice alongside the mediation process.
How does mediation work?
You may contact a mediator directly or your solicitor may refer you. What can you expect to happen?
Not everyone is ready for mediation at the same stage in separating, so the mediator needs to find out whether it is suitable for both of you. This is often done at an assessment and information meeting when your concerns and questions can be addressed. The mediator will also check eligibility for free publicly funded mediation and explain charges if you are not eligible. If you decide not to mediate, this stage is necessary if you want to go to court, as the court will expect a certificate from the mediator before you start proceedings.
The mediator will speak to you briefly about the process to ensure you understand how it works. They will then contact your partner and have the same conversation with them. Sometimes mediators prefer to do this face to face rather than on the telephone.
Working out the details:
Further meetings will be scheduled at which you may work on communication issues, renew arrangements for children, exchange financial information and consider options. The mediator may suggest other help, such as financial advice or support for your children. Between meetings you may wish to meet with your lawyer for advice.
Finalising the proposals:
Once you have proposals you both find acceptable the mediator will prepare a summary of them together with a summary of the financial information which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your lawyers. After you have both received legal advice and if you are both still happy with the proposals, the lawyers will convert the summary into a legally binding document and carry out any necessary implementation.
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