Mediation is a form of meeting used in family law for working out financial circumstances and child ownership following a couple’s divorce and separation. A normal meeting of the two parties is likely to be unproductive and potentially dangerous if hostility is brewing between the couple. That is the importance of the mediation process as it can settle arguments and arrange agreements that may otherwise prove difficult to reach in hostile break ups.
The process of mediation generally comes in four main steps:
1. The mediator assessment:
The mediator’s assessment is only there to ensure that no danger is presented to either party involved and that mediation is indeed the correct course of action for the couple. The mediator will talk with both parties involved ensuring they both understand how the process works before moving on.
2. Pre-mediation meetings
Pre-mediation meetings occur with each party involved individually. These will be aimed at further assessing the readiness of both parties for a face-to-face confrontation, renew any child arrangements, financial exchange information as well as work on any communication problems if any are present. The Mediator can offer some support by suggesting sources of help, but can’t provide anything personally nor take sides in a dispute.
3. The meeting itself
The meeting itself is largely unstructured. Both parties, having been prepared and screened fully before entering the mediated meeting, are to settle their dispute face-to-face. The mediator is there to ensure that both parties remain reasoned in their argument and offer legal but are themselves neutral in the argument. They will not take sides in any dispute in favour of either party.
The final stage formally ends the mediation process. The mediator making a summary of the final terms of the agreement settled between both parties, passing this on to their respective lawyers if they are still satisfied with the summery where it is converted into a legally binding document.
Mediation can be a vital stage in any breakdown of relationship.