Separating can be very stressful, with opposing points of view
on lots of issues making it difficult to reach agreement with your
partner on the essential aspects of your divorce. But there is an
alternative way to make these decisions without having to fight
them out step-by-step in court: mediation.
I have helped many couples use mediation during their divorce,
and think that Family Mediation Week
runs this week, is a good opportunity to share my thoughts on why
you'd choose mediation.
You are on relatively good terms with
your partner/spouse and would like to reach a settlement with the
help of an independent neutral facilitator – the
You want to try and minimise conflict
and 'own' the process dealing with issues outside the court
You are both happy with the concepts
of transparency and accountability and it is helpful if you have an
ability to see things from the other person's point of
Mediation plays such an important role that it is now a
requirement before an application can be made to the court to deal
with financial or children matters. To help you decide if mediation
is for you, here are some things to consider.
Can you envisage being in the same
room as your partner/spouse or would you prefer the mediator to
effectively undertake 'shuttle' mediation, where the
mediator moves between the two rooms?
Choose your mediator carefully
– ask for recommendations from your lawyer/friends/family. In
a typical family mediation the legal representatives are not in the
room during the mediation but advise throughout the process.
However, if you feel that you would like your lawyer to be present,
it is worth discussing that with the mediator and checking that
they are comfortable with that idea.
The discussions in mediation are
confidential and cannot be referred to in subsequent court
proceedings if the mediation breaks down. Remember, however, that
any financial information provided is open and can be referenced
You do not have to do your whole case
in mediation – some people choose to have children issues
dealt with in mediation whereas others deal with finances. Or you
can do both.
I hope these tips are helpful.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The well documented case of Heather Ilott and her attempt to overturn her Mother's will appears to have come to an end with the Supreme Court ruling that, whilst she may have be granted some money from her Mother's estate, it is a far smaller sum than the Court of Appeal awarded.
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