What is Mediation?
THE STRESS OF SEPARATION OR DIVORCE
When couples separate or divorce, family life can radically change or even breakdown. It can often make couples and their families feel that they are losing control over their lives. It is an extremely challenging time, made more complex when children are involved.
Many clients want to minimise any stress caused to themselves and their families as new living arrangements are discussed. As parents for example, you may have to decide where your children are going to live and whether to sell the family home. If one parent has moved out of the family home, they can feel excluded and fear that their relationship with their children has been permanently damaged. It may seem that their only option is to seek a child arrangements order (contact and/or residence order) in court.
Research shows that children are most affected by separation and divorce when they experience conflict around them and become aware that their parents are unable to agree about what is going to happen to them. Court battles are very costly and may increase the bad feeling between parents.
Mediation however, offers a private place for parents to talk through the arrangements for their children, with the support of a mediator. Mediators do not tell you what to do, but help you make decisions for your family, with your children’s best interests being paramount.
The National Audit Office reported that family disputes resolved through mediation are cheaper, quicker and according to academic research, less acrimonious than those settled through the courts.
WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Is a voluntary process which gives all parties involved a chance to explain their issues, hopes, concerns and needs in the presence of an experienced, qualified, impartial family mediator.
Can help because it gives a confidential, balanced and supportive setting to talk through, consider all possible options for the future and sort out all the issues surrounding a divorce, separation or any other family dispute.
Uses professionally trained mediators provide the tools that are required to untangle all the strands around the family breakdown, whether it is before, during or after the event.
Is a proven way of helping parties move on.
Allows you stay in control of all the decisions that affect your family, which the mediator records in a written agreement for you that can be converted into a legally binding document.
Can help you find new more positive ways of communicating with each other and build a sustainable future in your new circumstances.
Is a cost-effective alternative to court or legal proceedings. Mediation is on average, a quarter of the cost and four times quicker than taking the court route.
Mediation helps you to resolve conflict and reach agreement on all issues surrounding separation or divorce in a way that is more efficient and less stressful than going to court.
Who Can Benefit From Mediation?
Separating or Divorcing Couples
Children of Separating or Divorcing Couples
Families and Grandparents
Elders and Siblings Regarding Care / Life Plan Responsibilities / Inheritances and so on
In summary, Clarity Works Mediation Service provides you with:
A safe environment, helping to reduce hostility, foster reasonableness and improve the chances of long-term positive communication.
The tools to help you make arrangements for your children, property issues, financial matters, and help you to improve communications within your family.
An impartial, supportive and confidential environment for your family to make decisions.
A service that does not judge, dictate or tell you what you should do. Instead we help you achieve resolution in a constructive and future-focussed manner to benefit you and your family.
Is a child-focussed approach, in cases where children are involved, as their needs are viewed as paramount.
Dedicated, experienced, trained, impartial mediators to help find solutions for families.
What Mediation Is Not
The family mediation process is designed to help improve communication between people who have decided to separate, or who have already separated It is not designed to help couples who are hoping to mend their relationship. In some situations, the mediator may suggest relationship counselling or other forms of help and support, for example if a couple want to improve their relationship after separation or if they are now reconsidering the decision to separate.
Counselling or Therapy
Family mediation can be emotional and family mediators will encourage clients to talk honestly about their feelings, but the main focus of mediation sessions is on practical arrangements rather than emotions. If the mediator believes that counselling could help someone in the family, the mediator will provide information about how to contact a counsellor.
A Substitute For Legal Advice
Mediators can provide clients with legal information but they cannot advise about legal situations. Your mediator will suggest that you take independent legal advice before you make a final decision because it is important that you understand all the options open to you before choosing one.
An Opportunity to Impose Views Upon the Other Party to the Mediation
The mediator will make sure that each client has an opportunity to explain what they think and feel and that each considers the other. The mediator will help each party to consider what is in the best interest of all parties concerned, after considering all options.
An Opportunity to Abuse or Bully Participants to the Mediation Process
Various safeguards and checks are in place and these ensure that mediation sessions are carried out in the safest situation possible. A mediator may stop the mediation if there is abuse or bullying and will do so if one person persistently behaves in a way that is intimidating or distressing. Abuse or bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Nothing agreed in mediation is legally binding. However, you can both, after taking advice, enter into a legally binding agreement based upon the proposals arrived at within the mediation process. Usually, the outcome of mediation is put into a legally binding format through solicitors.
Unlike the court process, where the judge makes the decisions for the family, in mediation you are completely involved in and responsible for the decision making process. If you choose mediation rather than litigation, you are in charge of the details of the proposal, indeed there will only be a proposal if both of you agree that there should be.