By Euan Davidson
20th May 2014
The Rise of Family Mediation
As a mediator, I am finding that more and more people are making enquiries along the lines of “My husband/wife and I have recently separated and we both want to find the most amicable way through the divorce process” and realising that it would be far more cost-effective and sensible to try to work together in the divorce process rather than drawing battle lines.
Perhaps this move towards viewing mediation as the best way to work through a divorce or separation is as a result of increased awareness about the existence of family mediation. Perhaps it is a sign that the culture surrounding the divorce process and family law system is finally starting to change, with people wanting to keep as much control over the outcomes as possible in the most amicable way possible. Perhaps it is a symptom of the recession, with far fewer people being willing to spend significant sums of money on solicitors and therefore preferring to go for the most cost-effective option that still allows a trained professional to be on hand to ensure that the divorce process is managed properly.
Whatever the reason for this move towards seeing mediation as an effective way to deal with separation and divorce and to come to agreements about finances and children’s arrangements, the signs are that the move away from litigation and towards mediation is set to continue, especially following the new laws in April 2014 that mean that mediation now needs to be properly explained and explored at every stage of the court process.
I feel that we are very close to the point where we will be asking “is there a reason why we should not use mediation?” and where anyone who suggests that mediation is not appropriate will be asked to carefully explain their reasons for this suggestion. Whilst solicitors and other advisors should be able to help explain the benefits of mediation, the best way to explore whether mediation is suitable is to contact a suitably qualified mediator who will be able to explain the process, and who should also be willing to have a similar discussion with the other party, in order to allow everyone involved to make an informed decision about whether to use mediation. From my experiences, when this initial exploration process is handled correctly and is started before those battle lines have been drawn, then nearly everyone will decide to begin the mediation process and ultimately reach agreements about all the issues being discussed.
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
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I look forward to reading your comments.
Godalming Family Mediation