Helping you resolve your separation disputes
Getting a divorce or separating is probably one of the most traumatic experiences that you will have to deal with. If you and your partner decide to separate it can often throw up a number of disputes in relation to matrimonial assets, finances and living arrangements for your children. One way in which to keep your divorce amicable is to separate using family mediation.
Getting a divorce or separating is probably one of the most traumatic experiences that you will have to deal with. If you and your partner decide to separate it can often throw up a number of disputes in relation to matrimonial assets, finances and living arrangements for your children.
One way in which to keep your divorce amicable is to separate using family mediation.
What is mediation?
Mediation allows you and your ex-partner to work out solutions to the problems you are facing in a safe, calm and supported environment. It is a much cheaper and less time-consuming process compared to Solicitor-led negotiations and/or Court proceedings.
During mediation, a trained and impartial mediator will help you to identify the key issues of your separation and will then try to help you both find a solution to these issues through face-to-face discussions or by video link.
The mediator does not give legal advice in favour of either party but both can have access to legal advice away from the mediation sessions. Additionally, all our mediators are highly experienced family law solicitors and will be able to provide you with lots of information to help you both achieve a resolution as soon as possible. Agreements reached during mediation can be made legally binding and the mediator will be able to guide you as to what needs to be done to ensure this.
Is mediation compulsory?
In April 2014, it became compulsory for separating couples in England and Wales to consider mediation before issuing divorce proceedings. Couples have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can apply for a Court order to settle disputes over parenting, finance and property.
There are exceptions where there may have been serious domestic violence in the relationship or child protection issues, in which case, exemptions will apply. Otherwise, attendance is necessary to find out about mediation as an option although you cannot be forced to mediate.
Family mediation is a voluntary process for separating couples. If your case is considered suitable for mediation by the mediator after they have met you and your ex, you must both agree to mediate then a first joint mediation session is arranged that usually lasts about an hour and a half.
The type of issues mediation can resolve during a divorce
You and your ex may need to reach an agreement about finances on separation or divorce, such as:
- Whether or how income should be shared;
- How to split capital;
- Whether the family home should be sold;
- Whether sharing pensions is appropriate; and
- How to deal with a family business.
The list is very broad. If you have children, family mediation can prioritise meetings that help you to reach an agreement about their future care arrangements or any problems that may be arising with co-parenting since separation.
There can be more complex issues or personal matters that are important to you both where you need to reach understandings and agreement all of which can be dealt with in family mediation. The mediation can be flexible and tailored to your case and needs and what is important to you and your ex.
Even issues such as who should have care of the family pet after separation or possession of sentimental household contents can be agenda items. Sometimes, the issues that need to be resolved only take one session. More commonly, it will involve between three and five sessions depending on the number of issues and the nature of the dispute.
Mediation can be an option for you at any time in the future post-separation, for example, you may just require mediation for a discreet issue, for example, which school the children should attend.
Mediation is a confidential process, allowing you and your ex to have open and frank discussions with each other, without fear that you will be bound by the solutions that either of you may propose before a full agreement is reached.
What are the benefits of family mediation?
The main benefits of family mediation are:
- It allows both parties to remain in control of what decisions are made for themselves, and, if applicable, their children. Court proceedings, however, could result in the Court making an order that both parties would be bound by, and neither could be entirely happy with.
- It offers a more affordable alternative to resolving the issues. The costs of mediation are generally split between the parties rather than each having to fund their own legal fees if they were to each appoint solicitors.
- Mediation can also provide a much quicker way for the issues to be resolved rather than protracted negotiations via solicitors or Court proceedings which can last for months, or in some cases, even years.
- The informal nature of family meditation, and the fact that whatever is discussed in mediation cannot be used in any subsequent Court proceedings, can provide a less stressful platform for the parties to attempt to reach mutually acceptable proposals for themselves and their children.
Our team of mediators
At Nelsons, we have one of the largest teams of specialist family law solicitors in the East Midlands with experts in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. Our team includes Glynis Wright MBE (Partner), Gayle Rowley (Legal Director) and Paul Richardson (Associate).
All three have many years of experience and knowledge as specialist family lawyers who can assist with the mediation process. Although our mediators are not able to give legal advice in relation to your separation when they are acting for you as mediator, they can provide lots of information from their wealth of experience as family law solicitors. They can also offer effective signposting and will indicate when it is important for you to seek advice from a solicitor to help you to progress the mediation and to give effect legally to agreements reached in mediation.
Our expert team of family law solicitors and mediators includes:
The team was also shortlisted for the ‘Family Law Firm of the Year: Midlands and Wales’ award at the Family Law Awards 2021.
To find out more about our divorce and family mediation services, please get in touch with our team via our online form or call 0800 024 1976.
“Accomplished practice noted for both matrimonial and childcare matters. Appropriately equipped to assist with public and private children law, including adoptions, child abductions and non-accidental injury cases. Active in high-value financial remedy matters, including those involving trusts, commercial assets and cross-border aspects.”Chambers & Partners
"Nelsons Solicitors Limited has an experienced family and children law practice, and is noted for its strength in cases with an international element. The family team...regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on financial relief cases. Melanie Bridgen, who heads up the children team, is experienced in complex children proceedings; this includes matters concerning international relocation, parental alienation and non-accidental injuries."Legal 500
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