Once the process of family mediation is underway – after the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) – how long it will take depends on a number of factors, including whether mediation is taking place before or during a divorce hearing and whether any issues have already been agreed upon.
Some family mediation may start at the beginning of separation proceedings when there is serious disagreement on a number of factors in a divorce or when dissolving a civil partnership – for example, custody of any children and financial support or sharing joint assets.
Because mediation is a cooperative effort between the parties involved – and may also involve children and other family members such as grandparents – the process can speed up negotiations and help the parties reach agreement in a supportive environment.
The Mediator can help explain the legal options and various Orders a court might make – and being able to discuss the issues and options clearly usually helps couples focus on the issues without the emotional fallout that divorce and dissolving a civil partnership can bring.
Some family mediation may only require one or two meetings – other family mediation may take longer.
It is the Mediator’s job to offer solutions to any issues which the parties can then discuss in the neutral but supportive forum family mediation provides.
A family mediation meeting may take between one and two hours and meetings may extend over three to six weeks – and possibly longer if there are complex issues to discuss.
At the end of each meeting, the Mediator will ask if the parties attending feel the meeting has been beneficial – as well as asking if they feel it would be beneficial to meet again to continue resolving issues.
Most couples who embark on family mediation find it helpful not only in clarifying the issues and reaching agreement, but also being able to discuss these in an open-ended forum – without the pressures of preparing a court case or having to go to court for a judge to decide on the details of a divorce settlement, or a settlement when dissolving a civil partnership.
For more information about Family Mediation and how it might help you and your partner or other family members reach agreement, call Duncan Lewis Divorce Solicitors in confidence on 020 7923 4020.