Mediation

Mediation for the counsellor generally relates to family disputes. Family mediation helps those involved in family breakdown to communicate better with one another and reach their own decisions about all or some of the issues arising from separation or divorce including children, property and finance. Mediation is about directly negotiating your own decisions with the help of a third party. It is an alternative to solicitors negotiating between the parties or having decisions made for you by the courts. Entering mediation is always voluntary. Divorce mediation still feels like a new idea in some parts of the country, but it’s increasingly well-known and widely accepted. Mediation means different things to different people.

A trained mediator will meet with you both for a series of sessions in which you will be helped to

•  Identify the matters you wish to consider
•  Collect the relevant information
•  Talk about the options open to you
•  Negotiate with each other to reach decisions that are acceptable to both parties
•  Discuss how you can consult your children appropriately about arrangements

The mediators acts as an impartial third party and manages the process, helping you to exchange information, ideas and feelings constructively and ensuring that you make informed decisions. The mediator has no power to impose a settlement – responsibility for all decisions remains with yourselves since you know better than anyone else what is right for your family. The mediator will not advise you about the best option either for your children or your financial affairs, nor can the mediator protect individual interests.

Mediation is flexible and confidential. It gives you and your spouse a way to settle the conflict between you, which is natural and inevitable, in a way that helps you to work together as parents after your divorce.

You will need a solicitor to advise you on the personal consequences for you of your agreed proposals. You will be encouraged to engage a solicitor whom you can consult during the mediation process. At the end of mediation your solicitor will be able to advise you about your proposals and translate them into a legally binding format.

At the end of mediation you will usually have achieved a written summary of the proposals you have reached. This is not a legally binding document and you will need legal advice about it especially if you have reached agreement on financial and property issues.

Sometimes mediation is not the best way for you to resolve your problems. You will have a chance to discuss this in more detail at your first individual meeting with the mediator. Uses. The mediator remains neutral between the husband and the wife. That means the mediator can’t give advice to either party, and also can’t act as a lawyer for either party.

 

Mediation is confidential and courts are also likely to regard the discussions as privileged. The Service will not voluntarily disclose to outsiders any information obtained in the course of your discussions without first obtaining your permission, unless it appears there is a risk of significant harm to adult or child.

What you say during mediation cannot be used later in court as evidence. But facts disclosed during mediation are regarded as open information and although strictly confidential may be used subsequently in court. open and free exchange of information frees up both spouses to negotiate with each other in confidence. Because both spouses are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both spouses.

In mediation you are regarded as the experts on your children and will have valuable knowledge and information about their needs, wishes and views. However there may be times when you both would like the mediator to consult directly with the children about your plans. In those circumstances children would be asked for their specific comments and views on your joint proposals, without having to take sides in any difference of opinion between their parents. A meeting between the mediator and the children requires careful planning and is confidential in so far as the mediator and children agree what the mediator will say to the parents after the meeting.

Research has shown that three years later couples felt that mediation had helped them to

•  End the marital relationship amicably
•  Reduce conflict
•  Maintain good relationships with their ex spouses
•  Carry less bitterness and resentment into their post-divorce lives.
•  Be more content with existing child care arrangements and less likely to have disagreement about child contact.
•  Be able to reach agreement that had survived the test of time.
•  Be glad they had used mediation.

The main advantage of mediation is that it keeps you and your spouse in control of your own divorce. That can make all the difference in your recovering from your divorce and moving on with your life. Mediation allows the two of you to get through your divorce with less conflict than you would experience in an adversarial divorce. Because mediation is all about working with shared knowledge, mediation also often allows you and your spouse to work together to lower your tax bill and that can often translate to more money for both of you.

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