Mediation gives you more of a say about what happens and most importantly encourages you, as parents, to make the right decisions for your children – after all nobody knows your children better than you! At court, people focus on the limited range of options a judge can order and on ‘winning’. In mediation, everyone focuses on a proper evaluation of options, including some the court could not order. It isn’t surprising the outcomes tend to be better
Mediation can help:
- To reduce conflict and tension by helping you both to focus on the issues that need to be resolved;
- To improve communication between you, as parents, for the future;
- To allow you both to make informed decisions based on exploring and discussing all possible options;
- To ease children’s anxiety when parents make their own agreements – if waiting for court, it’s unsettling for everyone not knowing what will happen to them next;
- To assist you in discussions with your solicitor when seeking advice.
It’s quicker, cheaper and provides a better outcome for everyone.
It is natural to have concerns about mediation. You may fear that it will not work, but most people know they are going to have to sort things out at some stage. Many people don’t want or can’t afford huge legal costs. Sometimes mediation works to resolve some issues but not all of them, but this in itself can be very helpful. Some people feel they aren’t as good at negotiating as their ex-partner. Be assured that the mediator’s role is to provide a fair playing field for both parties and to ensure you have a voice in the room. They are impartial and non-judgemental and won’t give advice.
Mediation and Solicitors
It is understandable that you may think that you just want to use your solicitor. However, in the mediation process, your solicitor can still have a very valuable role to play. They will advise on your options to help you negotiate through mediation and give you realistic expecations on a settlement. At the end of mediation you will have a non-binding agreement, which your solicitor can make binding for you if needed.
If you have not yet found a solicitor, the mediator can provide a list of solicitors that support the mediation process. Mediation usually saves costs overall. Generally, the cost of mediation is significantly less than the cost of going to court, as the mediation costs are shared and the process is much quicker. If you need help from your solicitor, and they will tell you about their costs for the work they may do, such as advising you through mediation, and helping you implement your mediated agreement at the end.