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Family Mediation

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Mediation is sometimes confused with relationship counselling - In actual fact mediation is not designed to explore whether it is possible or desirable to save the relationship. Mediation is instead designed to assist when there has been or will be a separation and both parties involved want to deal with the practicalities of that separation as amicably and productively as possible.

The key difference with mediation is that we would help both parties together, as opposed to one individual. This means that as mediators we are impartial and therefore cannot give either party legal advice but we can give a lot of legal information, using our skills as legal advisors.

Mediation can deal with the following:

  • Arrangements for formalising the separation
  • Living arrangements
  • Financial arrangements
  • Children arrangements
  • Communication difficulties

If you are interested in mediation once you contact us we will need to contact your partner to invite them to mediation. If you are both willing to mediate, we shall firstly arrange initial meetings with you both individually, and then secondly, arrange the joint meetings to discuss the issues you want to address. You will set the agenda for mediation meetings so you will be able to give priority to the most important issues you are seeking to resolve.

About 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce, affecting more than 100,000 children every year.

Couples everywhere are unpicking the complexities of their relationship. They are trying to find that happy medium, doing the best they can to protect themselves, their children and others close to them from the emotional and practical consequences of a family break-up.

Every separation can be complicated, whether couples are married or unmarried and whether or not there are children in the relationship. However, there is a process which can really help you move on relatively quickly, with certainty and with the foundations of a positive ongoing relationship with your former partner. It’s called family mediation.

Mediation is a process which respects your decision to separate and which encourages you to formalise arrangements for the future, fairly and constructively. It is not about encouraging a reconciliation, but it can help promote a positive ongoing relationship between the two of you.

Once you are sure that your relationship as a couple is over, the mediation process can begin. Mediation is a voluntary process so you must both agree to give it a try.

Your mediator will not judge or criticise you and they will not take sides.  Their role is as an impartial third person who works with you and your former partner to help you move on from the relationship as cleanly and amicably as possible.

You will have private meetings with the mediator, yourself and your former partner.

You may wish to instruct a Solicitor to provide you with legal advice between the mediation sessions.

Communication is often the first thing that breaks down when a relationship begins to fail. It can become difficult to see things from your former partner’s perspective. Some people give up trying and simply stop communicating altogether. Your situation may not be quite this extreme, but you may still find it hard to discuss the things you need to with your former partner. That’s where a mediator can really help. Your mediator will work with you, they will listen separately to what you and your former partner have to say and help you each see things from the other person’s point of view.

Mediation is not an instant solution but it tends to be far quicker than negotiations between lawyers, or court cases. That’s because it is a concentrated effort over a period of weeks, through a series of face-to-face meetings. While the mediator helps guide discussions and timings, you are in control of the process, so you decide how quickly things get resolved. It is the mediator’s role to encourage co-operation and to avoid the delays that can happen when there is a stalemate between you.

It is not a pre-requisite, any separating or divorcing couple can turn to family mediation, but where children are involved then there is even more of a reason to maintain an amicable relationship.

However strongly you feel that your relationship as a couple is over, it is important to recognise that it is not always possible or practical to completely break the ties with your former partner. It is beneficial to stay on the best possible terms, which makes everything a little bit easier for the future. That is especially so if you have children, your joint parenting responsibility carries on. Parents who are able to get along following a separation make it easier for their children to cope with new arrangements, in both the short and long-term.

Mediation is an opportunity to lay your cards on the table in terms of how you would like to move on and the arrangements you would like to put in place. It’s also a chance to find common ground with your former partner and to understand in a calm, safe environment, more about their perspective on the situation.

It is often the case that one partner is more aware of the family circumstances than the other. Perhaps you feel that they have a better understanding of your everyday family situation than you do. Through mediation you will get a better understanding of your family issues. It’s the mediator’s job to guide you to make these things clearer to both of you.

Mediation is your chance to get the result that you are happy with. You do not have to agree to anything you do not want to or do not understand, and it is up to the mediator to make sure that all avenues you wish to discuss towards settlement are explored. As you and your partner have an equal say throughout, it is fair to you both.

A successful mediation leads to agreed proposals for the future. The proposals will have been discussed and negotiated through a mediator who makes sure that each party understands the implications of agreeing to particular arrangements. This is crucial to reaching outcomes that work on a long-term basis because you will have each played an active role in the process of putting them in place.

If there are lengthy negotiations through solicitors or proceedings through court, the legal costs can spiral. Mediation is usually a lot less expensive than its alternatives and you often share the costs between you.

If you have been in full control of shaping proposals, you are going to be more inclined to continue with it than if it had been imposed on you. That is one of the real, valuable differences between mediation and the court.  Although mediation proposals are not legally binding, you and your former partner can instruct solicitors or apply to the court to formalise them so that if either of you change your minds, there are ways of putting things right.

If you want to alter the arrangements as your own circumstances change, you can always return to mediation in the future.

Resolution members sign up to a Code of Practice which commits them to work with their clients in a constructive and non-confrontational way, and to talk them through all the options available to them. At the heart of the Resolution Code is a focus on considering the needs of the whole family, and crucially, putting the interests of children first.

A Resolution member aims to help a couple reach an agreement without going to court.

There is a lot to gain by entering into mediation. If you cannot agree proposals then you still have the option of obtaining legal advice and applying to the courts to help you sort things out.

The majority of people are able to agree proposals together and if you are one of them then you will have been able to avoid the financial and emotional distress often involved with protracted family disputes.

The courts look favourably on mediation as a settlement process. So if you later look to the family courts for help, the fact that you have tried mediation shows that you have taken steps to resolve matters outside the court. The legal profession as a whole seems to agree that mediation is a good option and that, more often than not, it’s the right path for couples to take.

At Eric Robinson Solicitors we have qualified mediators who help ensure that when a relationship ends, its practical effect is as straightforward, controlled and amicable as possible. Above all, it’s about minimising the impact of separation on any children involved.

Our mediator at Eric Robinson is Beverley Pym. Mediation can be conducted at any of our offices.  Mediation costs are on a fixed fee basis.

If you are interested in mediation, please contact Beverley Pym on 01489 788922 or

Family Mediation Solicitors in Basingstoke, Bracknell, Southampton, Winchester, The New Forest, Richmond and the South Coast

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