The government has recently brought in measures that require all individuals to attend a meeting to find out about mediation before they are allowed to make certain applications to the Family Court.
The government has recently brought in measures that require all individuals to attend a meeting to find out about mediation before they are allowed to make certain applications to the Family Court. This includes disputes about finances and child care issues. A relationship breakdown need not escalate to a court room battle. Whilst going to court might prove to be the only option in a bitter or complex dispute, there is a growing trend to pursue less confrontational approaches to dispute resolution.
What is mediation?
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with demonstrable results. Typically, a third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate a settlement. Disputants may mediate disputes in a variety of domains, such as commercial, legal, diplomatic, workplace, community and family matters.
The term "mediation" broadly refers to any instance in which a third party helps others reach agreement. More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable and dynamics that "ordinary" negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential, possibly enforced by law. Participation is typically voluntary. The mediator acts as a neutral third party and facilitates rather than directs the process.
How do I access mediation?
Some solicitors are now offering mediation as a service. The advantage of using a qualified solicitor as your mediator is that, in addition to their mediation skills, they are also able to give general advice to both parties about the legal formalities of separation and divorce. They cannot however act as the legal representative for either party in any subsequent legal or divorce proceedings.
The collaborative approach
Collaborative law (also called collaborative practice, divorce, or family law) is a legal process enabling couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court. The collaborative approach also aims to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children, without the underlying threat of contested litigation. The voluntary process is initiated when the couple signs a contract, binding each other to the process and disqualifying their respective solicitors from representing either one in any future family related litigation.
The collaborative process can be used to facilitate a broad range of other family issues, including disputes between parents and the drawing up of pre and post-nuptial agreements.
Contact: Paul Antoniou