Mediation involves both parties in working out arrangements for themselves and their children instead of handing over control of their affairs to lawyers or a court.
Divorce Mediation – Your Questions Answered
Source: Family Life
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Separation and divorce usually involve a major crisis for a family. Arrangements for children, housing, financial and property decisions all need to be worked out. There may be a lot of anger between the couple and great distress.
Separating and divorcing couples often want to avoid contested court proceedings, which can escalate hostility and be very costly, both emotionally and financially; but in these circumstances it is often impossible to work things out together on their own.
Trained and experienced mediators can work together with the couple to help them to consider the options available and possible ways of reaching agreement, while trying to avoid pressure being put on either party.
What is mediation?
Mediation involves both parties in working out arrangements for themselves and their children instead of handing over control of their affairs to solicitors or a court.
Mediators do not take sides or tell people what they ought to do and they have no power to impose decisions.
Their role is to reduce conflict by helping couples consider the issues that need to be settled and the various options for settlement that may be available to them. They help couples work toward financial settlements and focus on children’s feelings and needs, encouraging parental cooperation wherever possible.
When can people come to mediation?
People can come to mediation before, after or during separation or divorce – whenever there are issues to be settled between them.
What problems can be brought to mediation?
Any or all of the problems that arise when couples split up:
- Decisions about separation or divorce.
- Arrangements for care of children and visiting arrangements.
- Housing and other property matters.
- Financial support and if appropriate, clean break settlements.
Is mediation confidential?
Mediators treat all discussions as strictly confidential except where someone’s life or welfare may be in danger. Either party may use financial information should there be court proceedings. However, discussions to try to resolve differences are “without prejudice” and legally privileged.
Does mediation discourage reconciliation?
Couples often disagree about the need for separation or divorce. Mediators neither encourage divorce nor press people to continue a relationship if either is unwilling to do so. They encourage couples to reach joint decisions wherever possible, sometimes referring them for counseling.
How does it work?
Mediation sessions usually last one and a half hours. The number of sessions needed depends on the nature of the problems – generally three to six sessions are needed. The charges for mediation are payable at the end of each session and may be shared between the couple in any way they may agree.