1st May 2014
Godalming Family mediation
Well done to The Guide magazine in Haslemere and The Pepperpot magazine in Godalming for running the story about the mediation law changes. This should really help a lot more people in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire to consider mediation when they are going through a divorce or separation, hopefully long before court action is even contemplated.
Can I use mediation?
Over the years, I have had more than enough conversations with people who have been through a divorce or separation and who have said that they either wished that they had known about mediation or wished that their ex-partner had been prepared to start the mediation process when it was suggested. Hopefully, articles such as this one will help to avoid this in the future.
Mediation can be used in the vast majority of family breakdowns to enable agreements to be reached about the future, including about all aspects relating to finances and children’s arrangements. Mediation can be free for people with low incomes and few savings or other assets using legal aid or paid for privately. Mediation can assist with relatively straightforward situations where there is a family home and stable incomes to be discussed but it can also be very effective for clients who run their own companies, who have properties both in the UK and overseas, who have sizeable and varied pension policies and who have very complicated income structures that include share options, bonuses and dividend payments as well as salaries.
In many ways, the higher the value of the assets and the higher the incomes then the more potential benefit that mediation can offer as the relative mediation costs will be much lower compared to the overall finances, before even factoring in the large legal bills if court intervention was required instead of reaching a mediated settlement. The resulting cost savings, as well as the opportunity to avoid the acrimony and disruption that court battles inevitably entail, can make the decision to enter the mediation process one of the best decisions that you will ever make at such a difficult time.
The introduction of the Children and Familes Act on 22nd April 2014 also now means that mediation needs to be formally considered before a court application is made about most financial issues or children’s arrangements, with it being likely that judges will start to ensure that both parties have genuinely considered mediation, therefore removing the obstacle of the other person not being willing to consider using mediation.
I am very positive that this combination of increased awareness, together with these new rules, will over the coming months and years allow us finally to reach the point where mediation becomes the automatic first choice for most divorcing and separating couples, and with litigation being the last resort. This will bring tremendous benefits to so many people and hopefully reduce the number of times that people say to me that they wish that had known about or been able to use family mediation.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about the mediation process and remember that it is never too late to mediate