The mediator’s role will be to help you to identify what the issues are, then help you towards finding solutions through face-to-face discussions. You will meet in a neutral and safe environment and your discussions will progress at a pace that you are comfortable with.
The offers that are exchanged in the mediation process are “without prejudice”. This means that they are private and cannot be reported to the court. The intention is to encourage openness and a willingness to negotiate.
Once an understanding has been reached that could be confirmed as a final agreement, whether it relates to finances or children, the mediator will then help to draw up a formal agreement. They will work with your solicitors by informing them of the outcome of the discussions.
What is mediation?
The four principles of mediation are:
The process is voluntary
The mediators are impartial
The whole process is confidential
The clients are in charge of the process
Mediation consists of appointing an independent, mutual mediator (or sometimes two mediators) to help you find a way of resolving any disagreements over financial issues or arrangements about children.
A mediator will meet you and your partner and will identify those issues you can’t agree on and help you to try and reach agreement. Mediators do not take sides and cannot give advice to either of you. There may be a number of sessions. This depends very much on how many issues there are, and how difficult they are to sort out.
Once the issues have been agreed, they will be set out in a “Memorandum of Understanding”. At this point your lawyer will give their advice on the outcome, and create the legal paperwork. In many cases, this will be a court order which is then issued to the court to be turned into a binding document.
Do I need a family lawyer for mediation?
Mediators will always recommend that you obtain legal advice alongside the mediation process and our family solicitors here at Stowe are trained to support you through this process.
It is helpful to have independent legal advice as solicitors can advise you on what to consider and what financial information you will need. They will ensure you have the right component parts of your settlement and advise whether it’s fair or not.
A mediator can give you legal information (including the powers of the courts to make certain orders) but they can’t give you legal advice. The mediator will be impartial and cannot tell you whether or not the settlement is fair. They will also assist with drawing up a formal agreement that can be incorporated into a court order.
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