What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation involves an expert helping couples who are separating or considering separation to communicate with one another effectively with a view to making fair and sensible decisions about their own and their children’s futures. It is a flexible, discrete and swift approach to family dispute resolution and in recent years has come to form a core part of the family justice system. It is used both for reaching financial settlements and for arrangements for your children. The family court now requires anyone wanting to issue court proceedings to consider mediation first and to attend a MIAM, and it expects the other person to do the same.
As well as being a member of the Law Society specialist family mediation panel, our family mediator is qualified both as a lawyer and as a psychotherapist. He will provide you with legal information and help you to understand the options that are open to you and he will discuss with you whether any other help may be appropriate.
Mediation begins with an assessment meeting or MIAM, which you would normally attend on your own. If you attend together then part of the time will be set aside for separate meetings. A joint meeting would then be arranged which would typically last for 2 hours, but can be arranged for longer – sometimes a half day will be set aside. Sometimes only one session is needed but if you are discussing both parenting arrangements and finances then you could expect to attend between three and six sessions.
If you are discussing a financial settlement then you will be required to make full financial disclosure to each other before looking at your options. The mediator will draft a financial statement setting out your financial affairs (just as would happen in court proceedings or if your solicitor was negotiating on your behalf).
Your agreement(s) are set out in a document called a Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum will form the content of a consent order, which will be endorsed by the Court and become legally binding.
The Child and Family Practice is internationally recognised for its expertise in the psychological well-being and mental health of children, young people and adults. Our team includes leaders in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy and mediation for children, adolescents, adults and couples.