Mediation is a form of dispute resolution. You may be familiar with terms such as ‘conciliation’ and ‘ACAS’, which are utilised to prevent and resolve significant employment disputes. The parties involved are said to engage in “talks”.
Family mediation works in much the same way. Mediators recognise the damage that can be caused to families when serious disputes arise and are not addressed, often ending up in court. An acknowledged priority is for important private relationships to continue functioning, for the benefit not just of the parties involved but also for the children, where they too are involved.
Mediation is not relationship counseling but is rather a process for dealing effectively with the issues that arise when family encounter significant disputes. It is widely used when dealing with the issues of separation; however it is extremely flexible and can be used for all sorts of other family disputes. It is now also increasingly adopted during the family court process. The process should be a voluntary one, so don’t wait until you are told to mediate; choose it first, and provide the best opportunity for its success.
By way of example:-
When two people decide to separate, there are usually a number of other decisions that have to be made about such matters, such as:
- How and when to separate;
- What to say to the children;
- Where everyone will live and what arrangements there will be for the children;
- How their money and property will be divided.
When decisions are made on a joint basis there will be less argument, mistrust and anger. Often emotions will be run high and this is why attending appropriately managed “talks” (mediation), with the assistance of a trained mediator, can be so helpful.
The mediator will not take sides. The mediator will help you to organise the issues that need to be discussed and they will manage the negotiations that need to take place. The mediation will progress at a pace that suits your family and it will help you to explore together all the different options that may be open to you, so that you can find solutions that works for everyone. The mediation is confidential and the mediator will ensure a safe environment where you can speak freely.
Mediation is not instead of legal advice and you will be encouraged to see a solicitor so that you are aware of your legal rights but when dealing with families disputes it is also important to recognise that there are often priorities which are greater than simply each person achieving all their own personal legal entitlements. The Legal advice received will confirm that the law in family cases is not an ‘exact science’ and as a result, finding ways to compromise, so that your own personal objectives and priorities are met, may be more appealing than the legal costs, stress and delays that will inevitably arise if agreement cannot be reached and your family becomes a court case.
If you are facing a dispute within your family and need advice and guidance on how to resolve it, please contact us and we will explain the options available to you. We advise that you address matters at the earliest opportunity and before the situation escalates.
You can get more information regarding family Mediation from our specialist PR Mediation division website by clicking here