Mediation what is it and how does it work?

Mediation is a form of resolving disputes between parties in an informal manner. Family mediation is a voluntary, confidential form of alternative dispute resolution and involves the help of a qualified and impartial mediator who will assist the parties in negotiating a solution.

Family mediation can be used to discuss all types of disputes, including separation, children or finances. There are various types of mediation available and the parties can either choose to be in the same room as the mediator or a ‘shuttle’ form  can be arranged where the mediator will go between the parties who will sit in separate rooms.

More often in cases involving the finances of a marriage, the parties will also ask their solicitor to attend mediation. Having a solicitor present can help because they can assess the strengths and weaknesses of any proposed settlement and advise on the consequences and implications of agreeing to proposals.

The role of a mediator is facilitate in the communication and discussions between the parties by:

  • supplying a neutral venue
  • chairing the meetings and moderating communication by ensuring that discussions do not become one-sided or unbalanced
  • setting out ‘ground rules’ which the parties must comply with the ensure that mediation is effective
  • Avoid the use of, or other’s using, abusive, threatening or inappropriate language
  • Helping the parties to find the best outcome to resolve their dispute

It is important to be aware that a mediator cannot impose a resolution on the parties and they are not the decision maker. If the parties cannot resolve their issues in the process, then they will be advised by the mediator to either revert to their legal advisors or to consider an application to court.

This video below created by the Family Mediators Association provides a clear and concise explanation of how family mediation can help you.

Serving Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes, our lawyers can help you with your family law and divorce matters. If you would like to discuss mediation or other options of dispute resolution, contact us on 01234 889777 for a free consultation.


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