Mediation when both parties are ready

Mediation has long been accepted as an effective way of helping people discuss and resolve financial and children issues arising from separation. Since qualifying as a Mediator in 2010 I have seen first-hand the benefits which mediation can bring, but I have had many cases referred to me which are not suitable for mediation.

The main reason for mediation being unsuccessful is that it is attempted too soon. In many cases, one of the parties has made the decision to end the relationship. That particular person has probably been planning the end of the relationship for months or longer. If the other person is taken by surprise by the decision, it is unlikely that they will be in the right frame of mind to enter mediation straight away. It will usually be some time before feelings of shock and anger have passed, thus allowing everyone to start looking forward rather than backwards.

Unfortunately, the involvement of mediation in the Family law system is geared towards it being attempted at an early stage as a mandatory requirement before Court proceedings can be started. In my view, this sometimes forces mediation to be used when the parties are not quite ready for it.

Here at Eldridges we are therefore introducing a new mediation service for those who are already in Court proceedings. The aim is to provide a fixed fee mediation session in either a children or financial case where the dispute has reached an advanced stage, such as the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing or a Dispute Resolution Appointment. At such a stage of most cases, a lot of water has gone under the bridge : the initial shock and anger has often reduced, and typically there will have been financial disclosure and the answering of questionnaires (in a financial case) or witness statements and the production of a Section 7 Report (in a child case). The parties by that stage might be represented by Barristers, and costs will be rising sharply with the prospect looming of a final hearing which could cost many thousands of pounds to prepare for and deal with.

Armed with all of the documents produced in the case up to that point, and with the parties’ minds focused on the future, mediation at such a stage of any case can be very effective. A two-hour session will cost £500 which includes VAT and preparation. The session is an excellent opportunity for parties to reach a settlement away from the pressure of the Courtroom. Please contact me for more details.

Summary: 

Mediation has long been accepted as an effective way of helping people discuss and resolve financial and children issues arising from separation. Since qualifying as a Mediator in 2010 I have seen first-hand the benefits which mediation can bring, bu