We have always firmly believed that the best way to sort out any family problem is through Mediation. That is why we began our Mediation service as soon as it was introduced in 1998 and we have been doing it ever since. We are confident that you will find that almost all Mediations are successful.
Legal Aid is available still for FREE MEDIATION and anyone who agrees to Mediation, and meets the criteria, also can get FREE LEGAL ADVICE.
Anyone who wants to make an application to the court first MUST attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) and invite the proposed Respondent to do so. There are very few exceptions. The Court is very likely to stop a case until the parties have tried to sort things out in Mediation. The Court WILL look at whether this can be done in Mediation at every stage of the case.
We do understand that at the time when a family relationship breaks down or a new argument arises, it can seem that there is just so much to sort out and too many points in dispute to make that possible. That can be so particularly if the parties have a history of arguments and dispute.
That is where our role comes in. We see it as our job to help find the way to talk together and to look at the problems from all angles and find a way to sort out each issue or dispute that is best for the whole family. As part of that process, often we help parties to agree how to deal with and overcome arguments but stay in touch for the children. Most parents do agree that children need a mother and a father even if they are separated and for the parents to co operate together to be effective joint parents – usually for the rest of their lives as there is always something that kids need a mum and dad for!
Often some things are agreed anyway, such as residence or where the children will live and the arguments may be about access or contact and when the children should see the other parent or grandparents or even other family members, the circumstances and how the arrangements should work. Very frequently, the problems are about communications always becoming hostile or a dispute and we are able to help find ways to overcome the constant arguments and to deal with essential matters about the children which will arise from time to time. That may be necessary even if shared care or joint parenting arrangements are agreed.
Coming together to sort out the kids or finances, especially things like the family home or a jointly owned property, can seem overwhelming. That is particularly so now that more often than not, it will be done without legal advice first. That is why we believe that lawyer Mediators are especially suited to help resolve all the issues and disputes that follow the breakdown of a relationship. We are able to make sure that each knows what information is required and how to get that, consider it and explore all the different ways that things could be resolved and sorted. The object is to find the way that best suits your family.
That may include how to get a quickie or cheap divorce or if and how to get a court order as quickly and as cheaply as possible. On an even handed basis, we are able to provide information to enable each to understand and explore settlement proposals, the consequences of the different ways to sort it all out and so to make the right decisions together. That may involve very many different things such as pensions, debts, earnings and other income and outgoings, savings, inheritances, a house owned or rented by one or both, mortgages, stocks and shares, ISAs or other investments and household contents.
Another important part of what we do as the Mediator is to ensure that both are satisfied that the true and full financial position is clear so that an agreed settlement is on an informed and mutually acceptable basis.
We take great care to prepare the Memorandum of Understanding and any financial schedule in a way that makes it quick and so as cheap as possible for any lawyer to convert that into a court order, if that is needed.
Especially in this economic climate, most people need to share everything that is available and not spend large sums of money out of what there is to be shared between them. Mediation is the way to achieve that in the most cost effective way and can save thousands of pounds. Regardless of the great savings in costs, we believe and it is our experience that Mediation works for most people and the best outcome is one that is agreed and not imposed by a court. Our backgrounds and experience in family law as lawyers and as Mediators means that you can be confident that you will get all the information that you need to sort all things out, in ways that are appropriate and acceptable for your family.