If you’re in the process of divorce or separation, you may be wondering what options there are to settle disputes and come to amicable resolutions for your children and family. Or you may have parted ways from a former marriage or relationship some time ago and need to readdress arrangements surrounding your children. Whatever your situation, family mediation can help.
Family mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that helps individuals in a family or relationship dispute to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator, a trained, neutral third party, assists the parties in identifying the issues in dispute, exploring options for resolving the issues, and developing an agreement that addresses the needs and interests of both sides.
When might family mediation be used?
Family mediation can be used to resolve a wide range of disputes, including those related to divorce or separation, child custody and parenting arrangements, property division, financial support, and family communication. It can also be used to address conflicts within extended families, such as disputes between grandparents and parents or between siblings.
Who pays for family mediation?
The cost of family mediation is typically shared between the parties involved in the dispute. However, some mediation services may be subsidised or provided free of charge by government schemes, legal aid or community organisations.
At present, the government is offering a family mediation voucher scheme to subsidise costs. The voucher will pay up to £500 towards mediation for those eligible. The voucher is not means tested, however not all cases are eligible under this scheme as it applies only to cases where the disputes involve children.
To be able to claim the voucher, your case must involve the following,
- a dispute/application regarding a child
- a dispute/application regarding family financial matters where you are also involved in a dispute/application relating to a child
The Government initially set up the scheme in response to Covid-19 to support recovery in the family court and to encourage more people to consider mediation to resolve their disputes. However, due to its success, the government have added a further £5.4 million in funding to extend the scheme into 2023. You can find out more about the scheme and check if you are eligible for additional legal aid on the government website.
What are the benefits of family mediation?
There are many benefits to using family mediation to resolve disputes instead of going through the courts. These include:
Confidentiality: Family mediation is a private process, which means that the discussions and agreements reached during mediation are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in court.
Cost-effective: Family mediation is generally less expensive than going to court, as it eliminates the need for lawyers and other legal fees.
Faster resolution: Family mediation can often resolve disputes more quickly than going to court, which can take months or even years.
Better outcomes: Family mediation allows the parties to work together to develop a mutually acceptable agreement that addresses their needs and interests, rather than having a judge impose a decision on them.
Improved communication: Family mediation can help improve communication between the parties involved in the dispute, which can be especially beneficial in co-parenting situations.
The Process of Family Mediation
The process of family mediation typically involves several stages:
Initial meeting: The mediator will meet with each party separately to discuss the issues in dispute, the goals of the mediation and to assess whether mediation is a suitable option for resolving the dispute.
Joint meeting: The parties and the mediator will meet together to discuss the issues in dispute, identify areas of agreement and disagreement, and explore options for resolving the dispute.
Negotiation: The parties will negotiate with the assistance of the mediator to develop a mutually acceptable agreement.
Agreement: If an agreement is reached, it will be put in writing and signed by both parties. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the mediation may be terminated, and the parties may explore other options for resolving the dispute.
Family mediation is a valuable tool for resolving disputes between family members. It is a voluntary and confidential process that allows the parties to work together to develop a mutually acceptable agreement that addresses their needs and interests. It is less expensive and less time-consuming than going to court and can often result in better outcomes for all parties involved.
Here at Regan Peggs, we are an experienced team committed to helping our clients resolve disputes in the most amicable way- our accredited mediators will provide you with a confidential, supportive environment to find a resolution.
To find out more about how our friendly mediation experts can help you, do not hesitate to check out our Family Mediation services page and we will be happy to help you reach the resolutions your family deserves.