divorce and mediation

For those couples looking for a much more cost-effective way to divorce, it is worth looking at mediation. In the courts today, you have to prove that you have had at least one session of mediation prior to court proceedings starting. 

There is only one excuse for not attending mediation before hitting the courts and that is where a party has suffered domestic abuse or violence. In this case, it is understood that the last thing a victim wants to do is to try and reason with their abuser and sit in the same room or building. 

Mediation exists to try and solve the issues which arise when a couple separate. The mediator takes the form of an adjudicator and will make sure that discussions take place in a constructive manner and that each party has the opportunity to be heard. It can be used for matters concerning children and finances, so is flexible. Mediation must not be confused with relationship coaching or counselling. When couples arrive at the Mediators office they are there because the marriage has irretrievably broken down and divorce proceedings have started. The concern of mediation is that each party gets what they feel is a “fair deal” in the separation. 

Mediators are very much like having a referee in the room. The couple sit in the same room, but if things are very difficult, couples may be able to sit in separate rooms with the mediator flitting between, informing the individuals what the other party has said or suggested. They are trained to assist each party to recognise the issues and to then find ways to resolve them. They are neutral and never take sides. Also note that they don’t give advice, so it also helpful to see a solicitor before and after mediation to ensure you are getting a good deal. The mediation office will advise the couple in this regard, when they book their appointment. 

To put it in basic terms, mediation is all about bashing out the nitty gritty in front of an adjudicator, rather than a judge. It cuts out a great deal of time and money which would normally be spent pushing court documents around and can lead to a quicker conclusion. The process could be considered to be kinder to each party too. There is less stress because the process is not so drawn out. With the courts full to the brim, dates between cases can be 6 months. Mediation also has a positive impact on the children as the process is shorter and less involved. This is turn leaves parents to be more available to their offspring; dealing with the anxiety they are going through is the most important consideration. If children see their parents being amicable, this has a huge positive impact. 

If a couple can reach an agreement, the mediator draws up a “Memorandum of Understanding” which sets out what is proposed. This document is then taken to the couples’ respective solicitors who will check it over and offer advice. If the client agrees, an order is drawn up which is then sent to the court where a legally binding order can be drawn up.  Normally there are a series of mediation sessions before a couple get to this stage, but anything goes. If a couple are in agreement it can possibly be done and dusted in one, hour and a half session. 

Different forms of divorce mediation

There is also the option of a different kind of mediation, although there are not a huge number of lawyers trained to conduct “lawyer assisted mediation”. Both lawyers are in attendance so obviously there is more cost involved, but it is a good option if a person is really anxious about mediating without a lawyer present. For example, they may have had a marriage where they were continually manipulated and controlled. Usually, lawyer assisted mediation kind takes an entire day, rather than several shorter sessions. There is still a mediator present and that person directs the mediation between each party and their lawyer. 

Each party camp-out in a different room with the mediator going between the two rooms. If all goes well, it is sometimes possible for the lawyers to draw up an order on the same day. Again, this is sent to the court to be made into a legally binding final order.

It is possible for tricky divorces to be finalised through mediation so don’t snub the idea until you have tried it. Your ex may surprise you by being cooperative. 

There are a whole host of mediators in The Hug Directory.