Family Mediation - Looking to the Future

In the last few months there has been much discussion in the news about Family Mediation with the likely requirement being that from April 2011, anyone wishing to commence Family Court proceedings will be required to attend a Family Mediation information and assessment meeting.

The Ministry of Justice wants to make sure that anyone involved in family proceedings is aware that the use of Family Mediation provides an alternative to going to Court to resolve their dispute.

As reported in an earlier article, there can be little doubt that most people do not relish the prospect of Court action. It can be very stressful and expensive. Very few couples achieve all they may have hoped for, though sometimes there is no alternative.

Family Mediation offers a real alternative and is a cost effective way of resolving disputes without going to Court. It is not appropriate in all cases but many couples do find the process very helpful.

So what is Family Mediation and how might it help?

An experienced Family Mediator will help a couple through the difficult process of trying to sort out matters in a sensitive and balanced way - whether to do with the ending of the couple’s relationship, the arrangements that may need to be made for children or whether to do with the family home, finance and pensions.

The Mediator will help the couple equally and is impartial. The Mediator is not there to impose a decision or to take sides or pass judgement.

Often the flexible nature of mediation gives couples the opportunity to find solutions they are comfortable with and ones which a Court may not be able to provide.

How can I find a Family Mediator?

Divorce and separation can be a very stressful and emotionally difficult time so it is important to choose someone who makes you feel comfortable, who is approachable, understands your circumstances and is able to explain things clearly so that you are given a real opportunity to explore a whole range of options.

Some Family Mediators are also qualified Solicitors and are very well placed to provide information about the legal process and the Courts approach to resolving disputes. Some Family Mediators are from a therapeutic background so may have experience of dealing with families in other contexts.

Resolution is a national organisation of Family Lawyers committed to promoting family mediation and other non-court based means of resolving family disputes. They are able to provide details of Family Mediators in your area.

The Law Society provides details of lawyers who have earned special recognition in Family Mediation and highlight accredited specialist members of the Family Mediation Panel.

Mediation is not right for everyone but when the process is managed well, it offers a cost effective alternative for many couples facing the difficulties of separation and divorce.