Mediation is a useful and cost-effective tool that can help resolve sensitive issues between family members, without the need for going to court.
Delicate matters regarding divorce, childcare and finances can be challenging to discuss and resolve between family members, as tensions can run high, and stress comes into play. You may find that you are unable to make progress regarding certain topics or that emotional responses are getting in the way of resolving the discussion.
In such cases, involving a mediator could be the answer to seeking out the most favourable solution for all parties involved while avoiding taking the matter to court. The confidential and voluntary process of mediation also allows you and your partner or family member/s to effectively and openly communicate in a calm environment. All individuals involved will have the opportunity to take control of their own affairs and to make decisions that suit each of their needs. Foys’ family mediators have years of experience in helping families achieve suitable solutions and can help yours today.
What is family mediation, and what does it entail?
Family mediation is a structured, flexible and constructive process where a neutral third party (the mediator) creates an open line of communication between family members to resolve an issue. This informal process is a form of alternative dispute resolution, and involves the use of negotiation techniques, allowing participants to contribute throughout the discussion and to reach a favourable and amicable solution.
The family mediation process follows three main stages, which include:
Stage one: A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is initiated, allowing family members to start the discussion regarding their conflict with a trained and experienced mediator. During this meeting, the participants and the mediator involved can determine if mediation is the right course of action and can implement a plan for the following mediation sessions.
Stage two: Mediations sessions will be held with the family members and the mediator. These sessions involve constructive face-to-face conversations in a neutral space, which are guided by the mediator, encouraging you to explore possible options for a resolution and a potential co-operative outcome before arriving at a joint and fair proposal.
Stage three: To conclude the process of mediation, the family members involved will submit their proposals in a final document, known as the Memorandum of Understanding. Where appropriate, the Memorandum of Understanding can be used as the basis for an order that has the court’s approval, causing it to be a legally binding contract that both parties must follow. Depending on the issue at hand, the mediation process can take place over a few months through numerous sessions.
Why should you opt for mediation instead of court action?
Successful mediation is generally less stressful, especially for any children involved, and a more cost-effective method than taking the case to court. The process is usually quicker than court proceedings and allows you the power to control and direct the route of mediation and the resolution, instead of it being handled strictly by lawyers or the court. Families especially can benefit from the process of mediation, as it ensures that the members involved can conclude their issues by drafting up personalised and flexible proposals, designed to suit their specific needs and circumstances. Overall, mediation offers a much more positive experience, focusing on the family member’s interests, giving each individual a neutral space for their voice and grievances to be heard and respected.
Our family mediators are fully trained to help you make arrangements for:
When it comes to divorce settlements, the process of mediation is often used. You and your spouse can employ the services of Foys’ family mediation team to effectively help you with resolving specific matters pertaining to your divorce. Our supportive mediator can assist you with understanding each other’s positioning and encourage amicable communication to find the best solution for your situation without wasting time.
Similar to the process of divorce mediation, separation mediation allows a couple to positively discuss and engage with one other with the assistance of an experienced and dedicated mediator. If you and your partner are struggling to stay in a relationship, but have not decided to end it completely yet, we can help you construct a separation agreement, outlining financial arrangements pertaining to debt/loan payments, shared items and childcare. Mediation can help you reach these agreements in a harmoniously and fairly, instead of taking your issues through a lengthy process in court.
Regardless of age, children do notice tensions between their parents. For this reason, it’s crucial that, as parents, you come to a swift and suitable solution regarding childcare issues. Through this impartial process, you can decide on matters such as child maintenance payments, where the child will live, and when they will spend time with each parent, ensuring the best outcome for all of you.
- Money and finances
Employing the process of mediation when it comes to handling money and finances after a divorce or separation can prove to be beneficial for both parties. While remaining completely objective, our experienced family mediators can help you to decide on how you will divide your assets, including savings, investments and money. You can make the final document legally binding at the end of the process to ensure that you both adhere to the set terms in the future.
Mediation can also help you to determine matters regarding property between you and your partner without going to court. Foys’ family mediators will guide you through the mediation process, helping you to decide the most favourable and fair way to divide property. You can hire the services of a solicitor to make the final document legally binding to avoid any further issues or disputes.
It is crucial to remember that mediators are not relationship councillors, and their purpose is strictly to facilitate discussions as a way of obtaining a satisfactory solution.
What if you can’t reach a solution through mediation?
If you are unable to reach an agreement through the process of mediation, you can opt to take the case to court. Before proceeding with this action, the mediator who has been involved in the process has to sign and certify your application form. Upon completion of this form, you can discuss what the most suitable next steps are with one of our solicitors, and we will guide you through the legalities to prepare you for court.
Should you choose to use our mediation service, you will also be able to retain a solicitor with Foys at a later date. Your solicitor can advise you as to the appropriateness of any agreement reached during mediation.
Foys can help you reach a solution with mediation
Whatever sensitive issue your family is experiencing, Foys Solicitors’ confidential and supportive family mediators can be there to help you work out a solution without having to go to court. We have years of experience in effectively assisting families to amicably resolve their disputes and reach mutual agreements by solving shared problems rather than allocating blame.
Our mediators have Family Mediation Council accreditation and are therefore able to undertake Mediation Intake and Assessment Meetings. They are also members of the Family Mediation Association, meaning that they have the expertise and skill set necessary to give you impartial and confidential advice based on your issues.
While we are currently unable to offer legal aid for mediation, we offer a competitive hourly rate and fixed fees for each mediation session, which will hopefully prove to be a cost-effective way of resolving your dispute.
Contact us for a FREE initial consultation where we can assess your case and help you to outline the most suitable options for dealing with it. Where possible, we can also give you a quote for our mediation services so that you will have a rough idea of the overall costs of your case.
To find out how our mediators can help your family, call your local Foys Solicitors office today.
This page was updated on 30/10/2019.
Please note that although we use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.