Mediation rates ‘increasing’ amongst divorced couples

Mediation|August 11th 2015

There has been a surge in the number of divorcing couples turning to mediation, a national organisation has claimed.

National Family Mediation (NFM), based in Exeter, reports that it received an average of 3,400 calls per month enquiring about the option over the first six months of this year, more than twice the monthly average of 1,600 calls during the same period last year.

The figures may correspond to an overall decline in the number of private family cases reaching court, said NFM, as recently reported by Cafcass.

NFM Chief Executive Jane Robey said:

“Cuts to legal aid mean the routes separating couples are taking as they try to reach settlements are becoming more convoluted.”

She added:

“Couples are increasingly self-researching their options, and this is reflected in the huge increase in calls to dispute resolution specialists.”

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  1. Pete says:

    Mediation, that’s where the bloke pays for the session and the mediator spends the whole session telling the woman every way there is to bleed the bloke dry or was I the only one it happened too.

    • Judy Park says:

      Pete, I’m sorry that was your experience of mediation particularly as you had offered to pay for the session.
      That’s not the mediation I recognise.

    • JamesB says:

      That’s the one I recognise. Except the facilitators sat there having a go at me. I went to a few and found them very anti male. To be fair my ex did throw a lot of groundless allegations and claimed to be in fear of me, and I suppose they don’t know otherwise. I remember on at least three occasions being asked what I had to say for myself to which what am I supposed to have done, talk about being found without a trial!

  2. Luke says:

    Mediation can work but compulsory mediation is just a box ticking exercise with financial benefits to the system – i.e. if one party doesn’t want to be there then in reality it is just a way for the system to siphon off a bit more money to mediators…

    • Judy Park says:

      ‘A money making wheeze’ you could look at it that way but on the other hand a compulsory attendance at a MIAM can have benefits all of its own
      It’s a chance for the mediator to talk about the effects on the children of continuing the conflict. You can talk about different strategies to facilitate a less conflicted relationship etc.
      I had a client who asked for his money back because after spending an hour with me he no longer needed to go to court because he had managed to get to see his new baby and it was working out well!!
      I had assisted him in thinking about how he could talk to his ex in a different way instead of blustering in with ‘I know my rights’ just some simple coaching.

      • stitchedup says:

        Did you not speak to the mother and point out how she could be more reasonable and cooperative? I hope mediation isn’t just an extension of the family courts where it is generally presumed that men are the ones at fault.

  3. Luke says:

    I should add that through my relative our family has had some experience of compulsory mediation, it was a complete waste of time as the other party would only accept complete ‘victory’ on everything.
    Well, years after the divorce my relative is still being dragged back to court over and over and over again on the same issues and still having to pay the costs of their lawyer to do so.
    This time they got another Judge – and guess what – the Judge has ordered ANOTHER round of compulsory mediation, and my relative will have to pay their half of the cost.
    The whole legal system is primarily a money making exercise and if the system is making money they will let the vindictive abuse it.

  4. JamesB says:

    We do need family law and Judges, but if they can be good and the best they can be that would be nice please. It is a hard job but I ask that they do their best for the public and if matters can be settled through arbitration and mediation even if it makes lawyers less money then that may be the better thing.

    I have seen people ruin potentially sucessful mediations due to lawyers not pushing them as they want more fees, its like inflammatory letters by sfla resolution lawyers, they write them, they shouldn’t but they do and it often increases fees.

    My ex did refuse mediation as her lawyer advised her not to as he wanted to make more money on the case.

    The more that can be done by agreement the better. Towards that quick (UB and adultery) divorces should be longer to enable things to cool down.

    Maintenance pending suit orders also should not be so ridiculous and one sided and anti male so as to encourage the women to string things out and bleed the man dry and pay too much to lawyers. The abolition of legal aid on this matter was step in right direction. Lawyers made it difficult for people to support them by squeezing people too much. Mine took me to court. We settled I paid half what they said as they were in breach of their own terms and conditions.

    There is a John Travolta film, a civil action think its called. Worth watching I think. Was how I found court to be also how this film was. The lawyers look at the money the prosecutor/applicant defendant/respondent has and buys the court. Court is a rich persons place and best avoided if possible.

    In the film I like the line,

    If you really want the truth, Jan,
    Look for it where it is –
    at the bottom of a bottomless pit.

    Cynical, but I advise people to stay out of court if at all possible, although often the other side will see this as weakness and ask for more, which is sad. Judges job is to make things as cheap and fair as possible and not ruin peoples lives or be bad. They often fail and therefore it is up to families even if they can’t get on to try and avoid the places as winning against your ex is a phyric victory which harms the children who are half of each of you anyway. Best result in court and law is one where both sides are ok with it. Sadly most times in this country despite (forced) consent orders that isn’t achieved. Hope and think that will improve.

    With re to mediation working, well you need a good mediator and both parties being reasonable. I haven’t seen that yet unfortunately.

    I think the answer is more certainty and fairness in family law courts so people are not priced out of getting better outcomes for their families.

  5. JamesB says:

    Too much self indulgence by rich people in civil court. Like my ex and her family. I couldn’t afford to play the game and did less well, but they paid more then they won. Can be a Silly zero sum game, Like the downing street cyclist’s lawyers fees or suing for libel, most can’t afford and on the balance of probability winning marginal points usually isn’t worth the legal fees involved.

    To be fair to solicitors, if cases get to court they regard themselves as having failed. Mine did and think was in minority.

    Courts have to be there though as trial by combat game of thrones style isn’t fair and is probably a bit bit better then tossing a coin also. Better to try and avoid the places if at all possible though.

  6. JamesB says:

    My advice is, after going lots and spending a fortune, if at all possible, try and stay out of court, especially civil court and especially family division of civil court. If forced to go as I was, they expect you to try with a lawyer to begin with but if you can’t afford it you may have to go and be abused as a litigant in person. Try and avoid if possible though.

  7. JamesB says:

    Court. I think I am still suffering PTSD from being LIP trying to keep a life of sorts and contact with my children of sorts to a degree. Try and avoid the place if at all possible.

  8. Pete says:

    Judy, Didn’t get the choice of offering to pay just told I had to ,then constantly accused of hiding money away which was the reason she pulled out after the third mediation session. As it turned out she was doing that hiding cash away not that my solicitor did anything about it.
    JamesB, I don’t know about solicitors regarding themselves as having failed if they go to court, mine couldn’t wait to get to court as he wanted to “strike while the iron was hot”. He also looked in a book said that I’m going to die before her so she deserves more.

  9. Judy Park says:

    I am so sorry that you guys seem to have had a raw deal from court and/or mediation.
    I wish there were some posts from people who had had good outcomes.
    Finally to say that mediation will never work if one or both clients come along with the idea that ‘ I’m right and I want it my way or no way.’ There has to be a will too look at things from the other side as well as your own side and try some compromises.
    I do not underestimate how difficult that can be but sometimes – just sometimes- and with a very skilled and totally impartial mediator with supportive lawyers taking a back seat It can work.

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