Family mediation is becoming more frequently used in family cases – especially in contested divorces where the parties may be in dispute over a divorce settlement or child contact and residence.
Family mediation can be used when ending civil partnerships, were there may be dispute over some aspects of sharing joint assets or child care.
Since Legal Aid was cut for contested divorce cases, more emphasis has been placed on mediation and dispute resolution.
Before the parties go to court over a family matter, the court will expect them to have gone through as Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) as part of the process.
Unless you go through this stage, the court may not allow a divorce case to be heard until the parties have attended the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.
At the meeting, the Mediator will act as an objective and independent facilitator to enable couples to discuss their differences, whether these involve arrangement for their children or child custody – or financial arrangements after a divorce or when a civil partnership is dissolved.
Agreements made at the meetings are not legally binding – the court accepts that couple might wish to take independent legal advice on any agreements, to safeguard their position.
The individual parties in a divorce or the end of a civil partnership can meet the Mediator alone or with any children to discuss any issues.
Before one party can meet the Mediator alone, however, it is necessary for the other party to agree they will meet with the Mediator afterwards. The Mediator will contact them to make this request before you can proceed with a meeting alone or with your children.
The Mediator may recommend that family mediation is not suitable if one party declines the service.
Family mediation may also not be suitable if there is an outstanding allegation of domestic violence against one party – or if the police are investigating an allegation of domestic abuse or proceedings are taking place.
Other reasons family mediation may not be suitable include if a child is being taken into Local Authority care, or in cases of spouse abandonment – or if one party has been declared bankrupt.
Family mediation can help avoid unpleasant disputes and confrontations between parties in a divorce or when a civil partnership ends, which is a highly emotional and worrying time.
Family mediation in divorce cases or when a civil partnership ends can also avoid costly court hearings.
Duncan Lewis divorce solicitors have recognised expertise in negotiating settlements in contested divorce cases – including offering family mediation our own Mediators, which include Resolution qualified Professional Practice Consultants.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel.
Duncan Lewis divorce solicitors are not only well placed to advise on contested divorce cases and dissolving civil partnership agreements – but can also advise on international divorce and Islamic marriage and divorce.
Duncan Lewis family solicitors offer an initial client meeting with a fixed fee for legal advice on family mediation.
Once the details of a case have been assessed it is usually possible to offer a further fixed fee scale, which clients will be advised of in advance.
Duncan Lewis always recommends clients to get in touch as soon as possible to discuss family mediation so that any contested issues can be dealt with swiftly and effectively, sparing both parties and any children further upset at an emotionally traumatic time.
Duncan Lewis family mediators will help you to focus on the practicalities in an informed and supportive environment, so you can reach agreement and get on with planning your family’s future.
For expert legal advice on Family Mediation, call Duncan Lewis Divorce Solicitors in confidence on 020 7923 4020.