Family law deals with a variety of sensitive interpersonal topics, and one that DFA Law…
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Family mediation is a legal process that helps couples that are separating or divorcing to resolve practical issues such as child arrangements (where children will live and spend their time), shared finances such as mortgages, savings and pensions, as well as any debts, and child maintenance payments.
The Mediation Process
The mediation process helps families to reach an agreement, avoiding lengthy legal disputes between couples, which can become drawn out in the courts and become prohibitively expensive. Some people may qualify for mediation for free through legal aid for family mediation schemes, or, since 2021, through the family mediation voucher scheme. If you are not eligible for either of these schemes, there are usually mediation costs, as well as those required for family mediation solicitors.
Those working in mediation have professional backgrounds, including within the law and healthcare, and provide divorce and mediation services by asking questions of both parties to better understand the situation. This occurs in an initial meeting called a ‘Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM). Ex-partners attend either separately or together.
Mediation is a required step before any court proceedings can begin, so it is important to think about whether mediation can help you. After the MIAM, further mediation sessions will be held until an agreement is reached, at which point a memorandum of understanding will likely be produced which details the agreement.
What Does the Mediator Do?
Mediators are trained to minimise conflict between partners, reducing stress and prioritising child welfare. Children can even be involved in the mediation session themselves if parents feel this will improve their welfare. It can also improve communication between the partners, allowing for a better relationship going forward despite a split.