Family Mediation Week, which takes place this week, is a week of events organised by the Family Mediation Council.
The FMC aims to raise greater awareness of how family mediation can assist separating families in finding solutions to their issues in a productive and conciliatory manner and exploring the benefits to parties in undertaking mediation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process, whereby a trained and independent mediator assists and guides the parties to reach an agreement as to the points which are in dispute between them. For example, arrangements for children and/or the finances following separation (whether the parties are married or cohabiting). The process is entirely forward-looking, with the mediator assisting the parties to review their situation from the point of separation in an attempt to agree financial arrangements and/or decide on the best way to co-parent amicably following separation.
Family mediation is not only effective for separating couples with resolving their points of dispute, but it’s also regularly used to resolve issues within families involving stepparents, grandparents, and extended family members.
Mediation takes the form of an initial one to one meeting with a mediator followed by a series of joint meetings, which can be held remotely or in person. The role of a mediator is not to impose a point of view or decision on the parties. Instead, a mediator assists the parties to facilitate open discussions in a safe and confidential environment. Mediators are trained to listen to both parties and provide constructive guidance in order to help both parties understand what issues need to be dealt with. The parties are able to speak and be heard, enabling them to reach their own decisions and overall agreement.
Mediation can be undertaken at any stage of a dispute, whether it be the first step parties take, or a forum to assist parties to resolve a specific matter which they are unable to agree.
Do I require Legal Advice?
Whilst the mediator will help with facilitating the discussion, they are unable to force the direction of one party, nor can they provide advice or guidance upon the agreements reached. It is therefore advisable that prior to, or during the course of mediation that clients do obtain independent legal advice from a specialist Family Solicitor.
At Mayo Wynne Baxter, you can speak with one of our specialist family solicitor mediators about whether mediation would be suitable for you. For parties who are already undertaking mediation at other Solicitors’ practices or with non-lawyer mediators, we are pleased to offer advice and support throughout the process, and to undertake the preparation of legal documentation upon conclusion of the mediation process.
To find out more about the mediation process, or if you require legal advice whilst undertaking mediation, please do contact our experienced family team at Mayo Wynne Baxter by telephone on 0800 84 94 101