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Family Mediation Week

Published on 16 January 2023 | Modified on 8 February 2023

Written by Georgina Emery

Divorce & Family

Poole Alcock are joining Resolution in supporting the Family Mediation Council (FMC) Family mediation Week over the course of this week.

The FMC explain that:

Family Mediation Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of family mediation and of the benefits it can bring to separating families. Our aim is to let more people know about the benefits of family mediation and encourage separating couples to think about family mediation as a way of helping them take control, make decisions together and build a positive future for their family.’

Here at Poole Alcock we recognise the importance of providing a variety of options to our clients in order to establish the best approach for their individual case.  Get in contact with a member of our team to talk about whether mediation may be the best next step for you.

What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is often used as an alternative to court proceedings where an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you work out arrangements for children and finances, without the need for court intervention. This process is generally quicker, less expensive and less stressful then going to court. Legal Aid is available, if you are financially eligible.

Mediation can be specifically tailored to each client’s needs and allows for easy adaptation of arrangements, for example as children grow and their needs change.

The first stage of mediation is a Meditation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Th

is meeting allows you time to explain your situation to the mediator, identity what the issues are and whether your case is suitable for mediation.

The mediator will also provide more detail into their role and the process of meditation, as well as refer you to any organizations they feel may be helpful.

If both parties decide to move forward with mediation, then the mediator will hold meetings with the parties with the aim of coming to an agreement, or narrowing the issues. These meetings are usually with both parties together, however, can be held separately with the mediator shuttling between both parties. The number of meetings will vary from case to case.

Once an agreement has been reached, the mediator will draw up a mediation agreement, setting out the terms. Your solicitor will then be able to draft a legal version of this agreement for submission to the court.

Talk To Us About Family Mediation

When is mediation not suitable

Parties should approach mediation with open minds and a clear focus on reaching an agreement outside of court, in the best interests of all those involved, especially children.  However, there are circumstances in which mediation is not appropriate, such as:

  • If there is evidence of domestic violence within the relationship.
  • If there are child protection concerns.
  • If the matter is urgent i.e. risk of harm.
  • Your dispute is about financial issues and you or your partner is bankrupt.
  • You don’t know where your ex is and cannot contact them.

Before applying to court, you are expected to have attempted mediation, unless an exemption applies.

Our role

Mediation is not legally binding, and you should always consult a solicitor in order to ensure you are fully supported through this process. Your solicitor can provide you advice on your legal position throughout.

Once mediation is concluded, your solicitor will then use the agreements made in mediation to ensure this is enforceable legally with the court.

Overall, mediation is an excellent option, but we recommend you speak with your solicitor about what options are suitable for your case.

Contact our team of family law specialists for an appointment on 0800 470 0340.

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