Family mediation is a non-court process that helps separating couples resolve disagreements over issues such as child custody and parenting schedules, support, property division and elder care. By using mediation, parties are able to work together with a neutral professional to create a solution that works for everyone involved. It is an alternative to litigation which can be far more expensive, time-consuming and stressful.
Family mediators have been trained to help you reach a settlement that is acceptable to both sides. It is a confidential process where the mediator meets with participants individually and helps them settle their differences. Participants make decisions in mediation and the outcome is decided by them, not a judge. It is a faster, less expensive option than going to court, where your personal details can be exposed to the public.
It is also much less disruptive to ongoing relationships and children. The parties can choose to continue a co-parenting relationship or end their relationship in an amicable way. It also allows for a more timely resolution of disputes because courts are always overcrowded. The mediator’s role is to provide a forum for open discussion, so that all options are considered and the parties can come up with a solution that they can both live with.
You can find a mediator by getting recommendations from friends and family. Then do your research by finding out the mediators’ credentials, experience and rates. Once you have a shortlist, interview the mediators to ensure they are the right fit for your case.
If you are not sure whether or not mediation is a good fit for your situation, you should talk to a solicitor to discuss the matter. A solicitor can advise you about your legal rights and obligations and can refer you to a suitable family mediation service.
The best family mediator will understand how to reduce conflict and focus on solutions, rather than pointing fingers. This is particularly important in cases where the children’s needs are at stake. During the session, mediators will ask you to consider the needs of each party and their children and try to reach an agreement that suits all parties.
Mediation sessions can take place in a variety of ways, such as face-to-face, telephone or video conferences. The mediator will ask you to outline the key issues in your dispute and what your options are. Then they will guide the discussions between you, helping you to identify areas for compromise.
Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will write a “memorandum of understanding” which both you and your ex-partner will sign. Once you have signed the document, you can use it as evidence in court if necessary. The agreements you make in mediation are far more likely to be followed than those that are made by a judge, and are more tailored to your family’s unique circumstances. The sooner you seek mediation, the better for your family. Call us today to see how we can help.