mediation is the best path for divorce

5 reasons why mediation is the best way in marriage breakdowns

5 reasons why mediation is the best way in marriage breakdowns

No matter how difficult it may be, divorcing couples should consider the benefit of mediation over any other form of dispute resolution. While it’s sometimes difficult to mutually agree on decision, there are a number of reasons why it is for the best.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there has been huge rise in divorce rates during the COVID-19 pandemic and the various lockdowns. With many couples forced to spend more time together in the enclosed spaces of their home, alongside additional worries such as childcare constraints and money issues, it was only inevitable that such an event would lead to the dissolution of many relationships.divorce case mediation

In 2019, the divorce rate was at approximately 7.5%; but, nine months into 2020, it was found that the rate was up to roughly 33.3%. Deciding to track just how much enquiries increased during the pandemic and the varying lockdowns, one UK law firm saw a 122% increase in the amount of enquiries they received between July and October 2020.

Despite these difficult and unusual circumstances, one thing remains consistent – you should always look for a peaceful resolution to your relationship. While the pandemic has increased volatility and emotional turmoil, mediation remains the best way to navigate a marriage breakdown.

What is mediation?

Irrespective of whether a person is happy or sad to be getting divorced, there’s one part of the process that no-one looks forwards to – the legal separation. It is a heartbreaking time for all parties involved and the fear of going through a divorce is compounded with the thought of signing off documentation, going through intermediaries and, eventually, the dreaded and costly appearances in court.

This is where alternative dispute resolution comes in. These are the processes that can be approached to successfully navigate a divorce without having to go through lengthy court appearances. While there are a number of alternative dispute resolution approaches, the first one to try should always be mediation.

This is where you and your partner talk in a face-to-face manner with a trained, impartial mediator who will try and aid both of you in making mutually satisfactory agreements. It can also happen with both parties in separate rooms. The mediator will talk to you both to understand your perspectives, your individual priorities, the misconceptions or problems that could arise, and offer up ideas for solutions.

It is not the mediator’s job to tell you what to do – they are simply there to facilitate an agreement and to act as someone to bridge the divide between both you and your partner. However, it’s important to note that they will not step in to act in any party’s interest. Should you wish to have someone there who will think through the consequences on your life, you can hire a consulting attorney to help.

Five of the top reasons why you should go to mediation

There are a number of reasons as to why mediation is the go-to strategy when you are looking to settle a divorce; however, there are some reasons that stand out above others. We’ve compiled the top five reasons why the next step in deciding to separate from your partner should be mediation.

1. Costs less time and money

Both the monetary and time cost of mediation is a huge selling point over other forms of divorce settlement such as collaborative divorce and litigation. It currently costs £550 to file a court petition for divorce and solicitors can cost approximately £300/hour in the courtroom. And even before you get to court, you could even be paying as much as £100/letter in the protracted communications between you and your partner’s solicitors.

Not only that, but you also have to consider the cost of post-divorce living – especially if you have children. When all is said and done, you could have already racked up thousands of pounds worth of fees before you’ve even set foot in a courtroom! However, with mediation, you’ll either pay a by-the-hour or flat rate so you needn’t have many worries about costs spiralling out-of-control.

When it comes to time, legal proceedings can last anywhere between months to years, depending on the schedule. Currently, this is being made worse due to restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as there was already a backlog before the pandemic. Mediation, however, is relatively quick and can be tackled within just a few weeks or, at worst, months – generally anywhere between two to less than 10 sessions.

2. You have more control

There can be nothing worse than feeling as if you’re not in control of how proceedings are going. Sadly, this is the case for many couples going through the agonising process of divorce proceedings in court. However, with mediation, you’ll find that you can have more input and less need to deal with rules or judges that don’t fully understand or empathise with your situation.

A mediator is not there to tell you what to do. Mediators are merely there to guide you and understand the priorities and wants of either party, and help you out when a compromise is needed. In closing, the mediator will produce a Memorandum of Understanding as well as an Open Statement of Financial Information. The former outlines the outcomes and the agreements by both parties, while the later is to enable a financial order to go through the courts.

3. Less animosity and stress

One of the most feared repercussions of divorce is the strained relationships that can occur not just between the couple, but the children and extended families. Mitigation  severely reduces this strain versus litigation as mediators are trained in counselling and are able to acknowledge the feelings of both sides.

This approach allows for the possibility of a relationship between the couple once the divorce has been finalised. This is even more crucial if children are involved in the divorce. Not only does it set a good example, but it’s important as parenting duties will continue beyond the split and this ensures your children get the best life possible. The mediator will be there to clarify things – such as where the kids go for school holidays or on weekends – in a way that is perfectly clear to both parties.

A mediator essentially makes sure there are no crossed wires and that no one person will dominate proceedings. They will prompt you to think things through, think with more empathy, reduce any argumentation to a minimum and make commentary when necessary. There is no need for there to be a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser’, as in court cases.

4. No public record

For those that like to keep things private, mediation offers the best way to do that. Matters are kept undisclosed and are not a matter of public record. If you pick an experienced mediator, you can rest assured that they will have dealt with hundreds of case anonymously and you needn’t worry about matters ever being disclosed beyond you, your partner and the mediator.

This means that even if there are disagreements or impromptu shouting matches, no-one will be any wiser. Your mediator will be bound by the Family Mediation Council’s code of conduct and policies that ensure that all info regarding the mediation is destroyed following completion. The only information that is retained is very basic to keep in line with the Data Protection Act and other relevant legislation.

5. You still have the option of court

It should be noted that even if the mediation process were to fail, you still have the right to litigate. As established above, mediation is a confidential process and mediators cannot be called to discuss the details of the mediation process. The only exception to this are any written agreements that were signed or any financial affidavits.

Do keep in mind the cost of money, time and energy that occurs when you choose to go to court. Mediation should always be the first and, in almost all cases, last step in divorce proceedings.

Foys mediation solicitors are here to help

At Foys Solicitors, we have our own specialist team of experienced mediators who have helped hundreds of families through their divorce process. We do this in three stages which we outline to all of our clients before any proceedings begin so you are fully aware of what is to come.

Our team has full Family Mediation Council accreditation and Family Mediation Association membership, meaning they have the best skillset and training for the job to ensure that your mediation process has every chance of succeeding. You will find our mediators to be outstanding – empathetic, caring, understanding, non-judgemental and legally qualified to help guide you and your partner through this difficult process.

To learn more about our mediation services and to get your FREE initial consultation, simply call Foys today on 01302 327 136, contact your nearest local office or fill in our online enquiry form on our Contact page.


Family Mediation

Family Mediation Solicitors

Family Mediation Solicitors

Our team of experienced and supportive family mediators is here to help you resolve sensitive issues between family members, without the need for going to court.

As a person looking for a cost-effective tool to help resolve matters regarding divorce, childcare and finances, the involvement of a mediator could be the answer.

The family mediation team here at Foys Solicitors are committed to helping you find favourable solutions for all parties involved. Our passion for helping family members communicate and resolve disputes has led us to update our compassionate family mediation solicitors page with accurate and reliable information.

On this page, you’ll find out how we can help you with issues to do with:

  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Childcare
  • Money and finances
  • Property

Contact Foys Solicitors team of family mediators today

If you would like a free initial consultation on our services, call us on 01302 327136, email us at enquiries@foys.co.uk or complete our Contact Form.

For more information on how mediation can help your family, take a look at How mediation can help your family during a divorce.

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Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

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Access to Justice – How much do parents really have?

Access to Justice – How much do parents really have?

The legal system has become noticeably more impenetrable in recent years.

Research by Resolution shows that where before 25-45 people on average were turned away, in 2018 this has increased to 100-200. So what’s changed, and more importantly can anything be done about it?

LASPO

Following the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), most private family law cases – including matters regarding the arrangements for spending time with children – do not qualify for the services of a Legal Aid lawyer. Many parents are finding themselves under the microscope of the Family Courts alone, arguing disputes regarding their children without legal aid.

Cases where arrangements for children and/or financial issues arise from separation are increasingly unrepresented. Many family lawyers have found themselves unable to assist people in such circumstances due to the changes to the Legal Aid system in 2014. Legal aid is available to those arguing against the State, but not to disputes between parents, leaving them to fight their own battles on their own budget. As a result, a lack of funds means representation is not an option for many.

This has had a significant impact on the scale of these types of cases, often elongating them and making them much harder to resolve. As Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has said, “Separation and decisions over child access are some of the most difficult moments people will ever go through. When people are priced out of getting legal help, this can make it even harder for all involved, especially the children, and can escalate into divisive family court battles with long-term consequences”.

Is mediation the answer?

The government’s Legal Aid goal was to encourage a greater focus on mediation as a way of resolving conflicts, but it does not seem to have succeeded. While mediation is compulsory in the majority of cases, many attend court afterwards without understanding the benefits or resolutions that mediation can bring. Jayne Kirtley, our Legal Executive Advocate at Foys Solicitors, puts it best: “Early help can sometimes avoid the need for court proceedings and the emotional conflict that this can bring. Being able to agree on matters amicably works far better than forcing it.

Despite the benefits, mediation is still an option that is largely overlooked. Instead of parties resolving their differences beforehand, Judges now find themselves commonly faced with two unrepresented parties; one party or both being represented is now the exception rather than the norm. Government figures currently suggest that 46% of private family law cases had a lawyer on each side in April to June 2012, but in the same period in 2018, only 19% did. The option is there, but many simply don’t know how to take advantage of it. This is where Foys Solicitors can come in.

We can help

At Foys, our experienced Children and Separation solicitors are equipped to offer practical advice in these situations. We’re experts at helping you through the process of mediation, and a consultation with us includes the first 30 minutes free. If you need help or know someone that may benefit from our assistance, fill out our Online Form or get in touch with your local office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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How mediation can help your family during a divorce

How mediation can help your family during a divorce

For separating couples, court can be a daunting prospect, especially due to the costs and time taken up by court proceedings. On the other hand, the UK court system is also overwhelmed by the volume of civil cases, which is why divorce mediation has been a legal requirement since 2014.

Couples seeking a divorce have to attend an initial Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before going to court as it aims to help both parties to agree on issues relating to their children, finances and property.

The mediation process itself will not issue a divorce, but a judge may adjourn a case if the divorcing partners haven’t tried mediation first, except under particular circumstances such as where domestic abuse is involved.

The process of divorce mediation involves a neutral third party known as a Mediator facilitating discussions, helping both partners come to a mutual agreement. Mediation costs less than court and usually takes less time as the schedule is decided upon by the people taking part.

What does a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting involve?

The first mediation meeting, whether it’s referred to as a MIAM or not, will follow a fairly standard procedure. You don’t have to see your former partner if you don’t want to; you can be in separate rooms or attend separate meetings if that’s easier. Even if you are both present at the same time, you may each have some time to spend alone with the mediator to ensure neither person is being pressured or forced into mediation.

During the meeting, your mediator will explain to you how the process works and how they can help you to make arrangements pertaining to your children, finances and property, as well as the costs involved in the event that you are not eligible for free mediation and Legal Aid.

Although mediation does not happen in court, it is based in law and so everyone involved is required to be completely truthful about assets, finances and other matters. Agreements made in mediation are not in themselves legally binding, but they can be made into a consent order which your mediator can help you arrange.

Divorce mediation options available

Every family is unique, and so there is no one single way to arrange a divorce mediation. Depending on how difficult the situation is, you may consider:

  • Sole mediation – Where one mediator attends the meetings
  • Co-mediation – Two mediators are present, each representing one person
  • Shuttle mediation – If the two parties don’t wish to see each other, they can be in separate rooms with a mediator moving back and forth
  • Child-inclusive mediation – Children aged 10 and above have the right to be included in the mediation process. Children under 10 may not be present during the mediation process, but with their consent, a specialist can have a meeting with them to note their wishes. These will then be communicated to the parents.

The purpose of a divorce mediation is to provide you with a safe, calm, neutral place to discuss your issues with your former partner and work out a realistic plan for the future. It’s common for people to struggle with the process, which is why mediators will do their utmost to reduce conflict and take everyone’s wishes into account.

What if divorce mediation doesn’t work?

There are people who believe that divorce mediation before court action is a waste of time, but remember, the judge is likely to ask you to try mediation first.

Of course, it’s possible that mediation will not resolve all the issues surrounding your case, or that after the first meeting it’s obvious you will need to try other avenues. Under these circumstances, your mediator will sign a court form confirming that you’ve tried mediation without success. However, before you head straight to court, you can still consider other possibilities, such as collaborative law or arbitration – your solicitor will be able to advise you whether this is likely to help.

If your former partner simply refuses to attend a MIAM, you can still arrange one for yourself. This will help prove to the court that you have tried everything to resolve important issues.

Family mediation with Foys Solicitors

Foys have years of experience helping families and couples with their legal issues. On our team, we have dedicated Family Law solicitors and Family Mediation Council accredited meditators. Our competitive hourly rate and fixed fees make divorce mediation a cost-effective option to reach mutually agreeable solutions before going to court and formalising the divorce procedure – and if needed, you can also retain a solicitor with Foys at a later date.

If you are facing separation, dissolution or divorce – contact Foys Solicitors today for a free initial consultation.

Alternatively, contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

For more information on this subject, take a look at our previous posts on Family and Children Law:

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Here’s how mediation can save you money

Here’s how mediation can save you money

Dealing with divorce, attempting to solve childcare disagreements or financial issues with an estranged partner can be stressful and time-consuming. And if you need to head to court, it can also be costly. To reach a solution in a way that doesn’t cost the earth, it’s a good idea to turn to mediation.

Mediation is a tool that involves effective communication between two or more parties before an external and impartial mediator. The goal of mediation is for all sides to come to an agreement regarding the issue at hand, whether you’re parents discussing child custody or a couple deciding who gets what after a divorce. One of the best things about using mediation is that you can avoid having to go to court, meaning that you can cut the cost of solving your problem.

During the process of mediation, the mediator will help all parties voice their concerns and make decisions based on their specific needs until a Memorandum of Understanding has been reached. The Memorandum officially records the agreement and outlines the next steps of action that all parties must take. It can also be made into a binding contract by the court if necessary. Following mediation, the ideal outcome is for all parties to come to an appropriate solution that can be effectively maintained. Having your say in a calm and relaxed mediation meeting means that you don’t have to aggressively fight your corner in a stressful court situation.

Finding a solution with Foys Solicitors

With Foys Solicitors, you can rest assured that you’ll be working with confidential and impartial mediators who can encourage you to communicate effectively. Our mediators are Family Mediation Council accredited, allowing them to undertake mediation sessions and conduct assessment meetings. As members of the Family Mediation Association, Foys’ mediators also have the relevant knowledge and experience to support you as you work at finding a solution in a stress-free environment.

We can help you with a range of family issues, including:

  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Childcare
  • Money and finances
  • Property

Choosing mediation over court action is generally the cheaper option. Foys Solicitors offers mediation sessions at competitive hourly rates and fixed fees, meaning that there’ll be no hidden surprises once your case has been resolved. You can contact us for a free initial consultation where we can learn more about your problem and give you a rough quote for our mediation services. Working with a Foys mediator is the best and most cost-effective way to reach a solution that works for everyone.

For more information on how our mediation service can save you money, or to book a free initial consultation, contact your local Foys Solicitors office today.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below