1. Will I be pressured into agreeing to a settlement?
Quite the opposite, mediation puts you in control of the decision making, the mediator will help you both to negotiate equally and effectively. Mediation is a voluntary process for you both and only continues while both of you are comfortable doing so.
If you feel unsure about what is happening in the joint meetings or how mediation is progressing you can talk one to one with the mediator about your concerns.
2. Will what has happened in the past be brought up?
Only if it is necessary as information and relevant to what is being discussed. Mediation has a focus on the future and what can be achieved moving forward. This will be closely monitored and managed by the mediator, ‘blame’ does not form part of the discussions.
Mediation is rooted in ‘negotiation’ and it is not possible to negotiate about what has happened in the past, while accepting past events can be very important.
3. Is mediation like counselling?
No, it not counselling or therapeutic, it is a practical structured process that aims to assist you to come to a joint agreement.
Our assumption is that the relationship has ended, it is not about reconciliation / or getting you back together.
4. Do I need to have a solicitor?
Ideally yes, but we understand that this is not always an option. The mediator will be able to provide legal information, but not advice. This is because the mediator will be acting for both of you in a fair and balanced way. A solicitor may be needed to implement any legal changes that follow on from your agreement.
5. Does it work?
Yes, about 70-80% of the people who attend joint meetings reach an agreement. Even if there has been a long history of litigation and the situation is highly conflicted, mediation can help to diffuse the antagonism and move the issues forward.
While it is not an easy option, mediation is less stressful and considerably cheaper than contested litigation. It can also give you the confidence to negotiate effectively into the future, this is particularly important with children’s issues where you may continue to be in a relationship as parents for a number of years to come.
You will both have an ‘investment’ in making your agreement work, rather than having a solution imposed on you by someone else.
6. Is it cost effective?
Yes, if things have reached a stalemate, or if you simply need your divorce documentation, family mediation is quicker and cheaper than using solicitors or the Courts to reach decisions for you.
Legal aid for family matters with solicitors has now ceased in most cases, though it is still available to support family mediation. If you need to pay we will talk about the likely costs at your one to one meeting, you can ‘pay as you go’ and can time the meetings to match your cashflow.
See our ‘How much does it cost’ page for more information. You can also save time, we can see you quickly, sometime the next day, and the whole process can be concluded in as little as a few weeks.
7. What if it doesn’t work?
You can go back to your solicitors or to the Court to obtain a decision. Mediation will also have helped to clarify, resolve some of the issues and move things forward.
Mediation is confidential and legally priviledged, so discussions in mediation cannot be disclosed to a Court unless both of you choose to do this.
Another benefit of mediation is that it is conducted in private rather than in a Courtroom, where sensitive emotional and financial issues might need to be revealed.
8. Is the agreement legally binding?
No, but the intention is that it will form the basis of legal documents drafted by a solicitor and / or sanctioned by a Court.