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Strong emotions often lead to words spoken in haste. The breakdown of communication begins with emotional venting as opposed to rational arguing of issues. There is little that evokes such strong feelings as divorce. The legal system has developed a winner take all attitude towards divorce. Divorce isn't a battle. It is the sad dissolution of a once beautiful union. mediation helps to take the battle out of divorce.
The Purpose of Mediation
Mediation is for couples who are committed to breaking up. It allows couples to face the issues of breaking up in a non-threatening environment. It is cheaper and faster than fighting over property and custody issues in court. The person conducting the mediation does not take sides. Instead, they will encourage couples to keep their emotions in check and address issues in a way that is fair to all.
People who do the mediation help couples identify the issues that need to be addressed. They are trained to help the parties stay focused on the issues and minimise fighting. The goal is to work towards peaceable negotiations. People doing mediation cannot draw up legally binding agreements nor represent anyone in court. They cannot give advice but can give legal information. They have training in the art of negotiation as well as training in such fields as counsellor, solicitor and welfare officer.
How Much Does It Cost?
The initial informational meeting will usually last about a half hour. After that, each meeting is expected to last between 1 to 2 hours. Couples can expect to meet twice for basic divorce issues and up to 5 times for more complex divorces. The cost is approximately 100 an hour but financial assistance is available. There are also summary fees and an FM1 fee that are based on the details of the individual case. All fees are usually per person except for the FM1 certificate.
Does Mediation Always Work?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that mediation will work for every couple. Mediation requires two people participating in negotiations. Sometimes, one party refuses to attend mediation. Other times, one or both parties are unable to have civil discussions. The mediation person may look over the case after the informational meeting and decide that mediation is not an option.
Who Can Attend Meetings?
Friends and family can attend the informational meeting, but after that, all meetings are between the couple and the person doing the mediation only. Children are never allowed in meetings. Couples must agree to full disclosure during meetings and some topics may not be appropriate for children. Child care is not provided.
Will I Still Need a Solicitor?
The people conducting the mediation cannot write legal documents. A solicitor will be required for any legal documents needed. Court representation is handled by a solicitor. People who do the mediation can inform parties what the law states but cannot advise how the couple should act on that information. A solicitor will be needed for legal advice.
Divorce is always sad. There is so much hurt involved with it. The pain can make it difficult to divide property and share custody in a way that is best for the children and agreeable to both parties. Mediation tries to provide a neutral environment in the presence of a third party where issues can be worked out safely.