Divorce mediation uses a neutral third party to help agree on issues that need resolving between you and your ex-partner. For example, child arrangements and the division of assets. The aim is to find an agreement that everybody is satisfied with, meaning less conflict both now and in the future.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
For couples that are divorcing, there will always be details that need to be resolved. If you are struggling to resolve these, divorce mediation might be the best option for you.
The first thing to do is have an information and assessment meeting to check that divorce mediation is the right thing for you both. If it is deemed that you are suitable for divorce mediation, it involves both parties attending a series of meetings where they can discuss their feelings about how they wish to resolve the divorce.
This means putting forward ideas and opinions about each person’s preferred outcome before coming to a final arrangement that everybody is happy with. Divorce mediation provides a safe environment where both parties can talk honestly about what is important to them. These arrangements are all made before the divorce comes through.
It is often the best option for the future, as it can help to keep an amicable relationship between both parties and help with resolving any issues in the future should any arise (with children, for example).
Some of the aspects that are often discussed during divorce mediation include what will happen to the family home, and arrangements with the children – where they will live, what will happen during the holidays, discipline, grandparent access, etc.
Once an agreement has been reached by both parties, it is put into a document by their respective lawyers, which will then be sent to court in order to make it legally binding.
How Long Does it Take?
Most mediation processes are concluded within 2 to 4 sessions. However, if you are unable to come to an agreement through divorce mediation, you might need to use arbitration or go to court to settle it.
This can take longer than going through divorce mediation and it can be more stressful, more expensive, and not necessarily give an outcome that everybody is happy with (often having an outcome that nobody is happy with).
What are the Pros and Cons?
For two parties that are unable to find an agreement on their own or through the help of their family law solicitor, divorce mediation is often the best solution. There are a number of benefits to resolving these issues through a divorce mediator.
Some of these benefits include:
- The presence of a divorce mediator can help to diffuse tension between both parties.
- The two parties can discuss their opinions and ideas in a calm and secure environment.
- The divorce mediator can give opinions but does not act on behalf of either party.
- Legal knowledge can be shared if needed. • The process is confidential and flexible.
- It can aid with communication and help to ensure that both parties are comfortable with the resolution.
- It helps to maintain focus, resolving the issues quickly.
- It gives you flexibility over the regularity of when you meet
Although there are many benefits to divorce mediation, some disadvantages to consider in determining whether it is a suitable option for you, are:
- Mediators are neutral third parties and as such, cannot provide you with legal advice on your situation or advise you on what may be best for you
- Mediation is voluntary, meaning that it can be ineffective if a party is not co-operative, hindering progress
- Where there are power imbalances within a family, this can affect the mediation process. For example, in cases where there has been domestic abuse
Do You Need a Solicitor?
Consulting a family solicitor during the mediation process allows you to obtain legal advice on your situation and discuss your legal rights. Where proposals are made in mediation, consulting a solicitor allows you to understand whether the proposals are fair and reasonable, providing you with confidence and reassurance.
Mediation agreements themselves are not legally binding. Where an agreement is made during mediation, a solicitor can then draft this into the relevant paperwork for the court to approve in order to make the agreement legally binding.
How Much Does it Cost?
The Family Mediation Council state that the cost of divorce mediation differs according to your circumstances. If you are receiving legal aid, your divorce mediation is not paid for. If your partner has legal aid for their divorce mediation, you will not be charged for the first appointment, but the second and subsequent appointments will need to be paid for.
Different divorce mediators charge differing amounts but according to the Family Mediation Council, a registered mediator will cost on average about £140 per person, per session, and also for drafting the documentation.
Why Use Waldrons Solicitors?
Going through a divorce can be difficult at the best of times, but there are always important issues that need to be resolved. Here at Waldrons, our team of professional, diligent family lawyers is always on hand to give you family law advice.
We can work alongside divorce mediators to ensure that the legal side of the arrangements is in order and help to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Alka Wood who is a Solicitor