As a mediator, I spend a lot of time talking to potential clients about whether mediation is the right way forwards for them in their particular situations and this article will hopefully help to address some of the points frequently discussed. One of the key points to consider is that filing for a divorce is a life-changing decision emotionally, practically and financially and the courts therefore take their role in the process very seriously. I often say to clients that getting a mortgage in the current climate can feel like you are trying to buy an island in the Bahamas, given all the hoops that need to be jumped through and the boxes that need to be ticked, and it should therefore not be a surprise to discover that going through a divorce is far from straightforward. Many clients have family homes and other properties to deal with, along with the aforementioned mortgages that are generally attached to them, with there often being business assets and pensions to factor in, as well as the future living arrangements and financial needs of children to consider alongside the parties’ own needs. It is only when we start to explore these issues during the mediation process that both parties start to appreciate the complexity that can be involved in trying to find a way to reach an agreement about how to deal with these issues now whilst also ensuring that all parties have security for the future, with them then realising the importance of making sure that these agreements, normally with the help of a solicitor at that stage, can be approved by the court in order to make them legally effective and legally binding. From my experience, when both parties enter the mediation process with realistic expectations about the fact that there will inevitably be some costs involved in getting divorced, reaching a settlement and getting this settlement approved by the court and about the fact that this is a process that should not be rushed or short-circuited then the mediation process offers the ideal way to reach lasting agreements without the far greater emotional and financial costs involved with progressing directly via solicitors or the court system. I hope that this article helps to answer some of the questions that are raised at the start of the mediation process and that it will lead to more people realising that, provided that everyone involved has realistic expectations, mediation offers the best way forwards during a divorce or separation.
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.