Duncan Lewis Divorce Solicitors – How does Family Mediation work?
Since April 2011, the court has required parties undergoing a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
The purpose of family mediation is to prevent costly court hearings when there are disputes between couples who are separating, divorcing or dissolving their civil partnership.
Mediation can also be used before divorce proceedings are heard in a court or when a hearing has been scheduled.
The Mediator acts as a neutral chairperson to facilitate discussion between the parties and help them come to some agreement over outstanding matters, which may causing not only practical difficulties in finalising a divorce or separation – but which are also casing emotional stress to the family.
The Mediator will first have to establish whether family mediation can help in a particular case – in some circumstances, family mediation may not be suitable. This might include a situation where one party has been subjected to domestic violence – or a spouse has been abandoned and the whereabouts of the other party are unknown. If one party refuses to take part in family mediation, it cannot go ahead. If one partner is bankrupt, family mediation is also not suitable.
Family mediation can involve not only the parties involved in a divorce or ending a civil partnership, but also their children and grandparents and other family members.
More than one session of family mediation may be needed to reach an agreement – and any agreement made at a meeting is not binding on the parties, who may wish to take independent legal advice.
Family mediation may be used to reach agreement about:
- Care of children and contact arrangements
- Details of separation or divorce
- Financial support after divorce or after a civil partnership is dissolved
- Pensions and joint investments
- Property arrangements (eg whether the marital home is sold).
Even if family mediation is not right for a family’s circumstances, the court requires that a form (known as a C100 form) is completed to show that family mediation has been considered before a court hearing can take place.
Couples can arrange their own family mediation by contacting Duncan Lewis divorce solicitors, whose own family mediators include Resolution qualified Professional Practice Consultants.
If it is likely family mediation would be beneficial, Duncan Lewis will organise a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) for you and your partner and/or other family members such as children or grandparents.
For expert legal advice on Family Mediation, call Duncan Lewis Divorce Solicitors in confidence on 020 7923 4020.