I have the sense that the use of family mediation has yet to become widespread in the Haslemere area and hopefully the latest article in the Life in Haslemere magazine will help to get the message across that mediation should be the first option for the vast majority of divorces.
Take control of your divorce: mediate
Going through a divorce can be very unsettling, with there invariably being a lot of uncertainty about the future for both parties and with there often being the desire to either seek revenge or cause upset to the other party. This means that it is very easy for one or both parties to decide to seek legal advice at the very early stages of the separation process. Whilst a conscientious and well-meaning solicitor will clearly explain the options to their client, including suggesting that mediation should be considered as the most appropriate way to conduct the negotiations with the other party, there are still some solicitors who consider that it is acceptable to send strong letters to the other party, safe in the knowledge that this will almost certainly inflame the situation and lead to a protracted legal dispute unless both parties are able to step back and consider whether there is a better way to resolve the issues.
Even people who take the decision to start the mediation process can find themselves seeking legal advice in parallel with the mediation process from a legal adviser who does not respect the mediation process and who takes steps that will either inadvertently or deliberately destabilise the process.
This means that it is vital that if you are considering a divorce or are in the middle of either the mediation process or the legal process you should try to step back and consider whether you are really in control of the decision making and to question whether your advisers are genuinely working in your best interests. If you are being advised to end the mediation process then you need to carefully consider whether this is for a valid reason or simply a disproportionate reaction that will increase the legal costs and prolong the dispute needlessly.
It is not the mediator or the solicitor who has to pay the cost of a legal battle and history contains countless examples of conflicts only being properly resolved when both parties are prepared to sit together and take responsibility for their actions. So, if you are being advised that mediation is not suitable, please make sure that you take a very close look at the motivation of the person who is giving you the advice and make sure that you really question whether choosing to avoid direct discussions with your ex-partner is really the most effective way to reach lasting solutions that will allow you to take control of your divorce and move forwards with your life.
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