The government introduced measures in April 2011, requiring all couples to consider attending a mediation and information assessment meeting (MIAM) before issuing their court application and from 22 April 2014 this requirement became compulsory.
Family mediation is a voluntary, confidential and privileged form of alternative dispute resolution. It involves the appointment of a neutral and impartial third party (the mediator) who helps the parties reach a negotiated solution to their dispute. The mediator does not have any authority to impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps to facilitate discussion between them, identifies potential solutions and assists the parties to reach their own informed decisions. The parties retain control over whether or not to settle the dispute and on what terms.

Family mediation is commonly used by couples to resolve disputes relating to:

  • Separation.
  • Divorce or dissolution of civil partnership.
  • Property and financial matters.
  • Children, including contact, residence and financial arrangements

Family mediation does not replace the need for the parties to take independent legal advice on the terms of any agreement that may be reached during the process. Neither does mediation exclude the involvement of lawyers. It is however common for the parties to attend family mediation without their lawyers and to take legal advice outside of the process.

The firm has extensive experience of advising clients both during and at the end of the mediation process.
Once mediation begins, it is usual for lawyers to provide input and advice, outside the mediation process. Our input can involve any of the following:

  • Helping you assess the strengths and weaknesses of options discussed in mediation.
  • Advising on the viability and enforceability of potential settlement options.
  • Evaluating the legal implications of a proposed course of action.
  • Assisting you to identify specific needs, interests and issues to be met or addressed in the mediation process.
  • Exploring resolution with you based on your interests, rather than arguing the best legal case based on rights.
  • Managing your expectations.
  • Helping you understand complex legal or technical issues, which may be beyond the mediator’s expertise.
  • Identifying options for you to take back and discuss in mediation.
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