When marriages break down, what happens to the children becomes a topmost concern. One path to help resolve matters involving children in a marriage dissolution case is family mediation. Family mediation according to the Family Mediators Association is a process designed to help separating couples make a suitable decision regarding their children and finances. This process is managed by trained and impartial mediators. It is always the wise choice to choose divorce solicitors in Weybridge who recommend mediation as an option to determine what is in the best interests of the children or to discuss the subject of finances.
How successful is the mediation process? According to a survey run by the Family Mediation Council, the family mediation process is successful in more than 70 per cent of cases. The same survey goes on to show that 75 per cent of separating couples who attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) go on to opt for mediation.
The family mediation process is a preferred option as it encourages both parties to co-operate and negotiate when making decisions that affect their and their children’s futures.
The principles of mediation
The objective of family mediation is to open up positive communication between two couples going through what is often a hostile and hurtful process – divorce. The mediation process should not be confused with counselling, therapy or an attempt for reconciliation. It is simply an opportunity to get couples going through a separation to speak to each other without abuse or bullying from either party. There are certain main principles of this process.
The process is voluntary. Both parties must want to and agree to participate in the mediation process. Although it is not a legal requirement during divorce proceedings, the courts expect mediation to be the first option before legal action commences.
The mediators overseeing the process must remain neutral. The role of the mediators is to be impartial and to merely provide information and guidance but not to advise.
Information shared with mediators should remain confidential.
It is the clients who make the ultimate decisions in mediation which only become legally binding if the lawyers are asked to incorporate the proposals into a legally binding agreement.
The positives of the family mediation process
There is a reason why the majority of separating couples choose mediation before going to court for decisions that will affect their futures – the benefits that come from mediation.
The mediation process is both positive and constructive. Hostilities and confrontations are put aside and the focus is on long-term co-operation.
There is less emotional stress involved in mediation than going straight into a legal battle in court. The focus shifts from attributing blame to one finding amicable solutions to shared problems. Stress on the separating couples is lessened as is stress on the children involved.
The legal costs of mediation are lower than court proceedings and agreements to proposals are reached more quickly. Proposals and outcomes are tailored to suit each individual case.
Mediation is ideal when couples face questions on whether to sell the family home, agreements on maintenance or who gets custody of the children.