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Family law mediation is the process by which an independent, qualified Mediator works with an estranged couple, helping them come to a mutual agreement regarding family matters, such as the care of children or financial settlements in cases of divorce.
Why we Believe in Mediation?
At Judge & Priestley Solicitors, we believe that decisions should be made by you and not by the Courts wherever possible. If you have played an active role in the process, you are more likely to have an arrangement that works for you for the long term. Mediation is nearly always a cost-effective alternative to litigation. This practice is promoted by the Courts, and we aim to assist you every step of the way. With legal aid being reserved to a small minority of the public, we believe mediation can help reach an early settlement and a win-win situation, saving all parties time, money and stress.
If you are going to mediate about financial matters you will need legal advice in the background guiding you as to what is the range of appropriate and workable outcomes that you need to aim for. Mediation is most effective when you have this background guidance and your ex-partner or spouse does likewise.
We work closely with mediators and we can refer you to the most suitable mediator with the necessary experience for the particular details of your case.
The Advantages of Mediation
The mediation process has many distinct advantages for individuals struggling to reach agreement in situations surrounding the family. They include:
- The process is entirely voluntary. Therefore, if parties agree to mediation it is likely that they both wish to reach an amicable settlement.
- It is completely confidential.
- A distinction is drawn between financial information and documents (which are open) and negotiations (which are without prejudice). The open information can be commuted into the court process if the mediation breaks down to avoid the duplication of costs.
- The mediator will often prepare a schedule of assets and some options together with net-effect schedules to talk through with the parties during the course of the mediation—the parties will then see which option is likely to be the most appropriate for them and discuss its terms to try and reach a mutual settlement.
- No final order is made in mediation—the mediator will generally set out the terms of agreement for the parties in a letter or document called a memorandum of understanding which is then released to the parties’ solicitors for them to prepare a consent order if a full agreement has been reached. Parties, therefore, are in complete control from the beginning of the mediation process to the end.