Mediation is increasingly the most popular option for resolving the issues surrounding divorce and relationship breakdown. Family courts favour mediation as an alternative to court action for divorcing couples and, in most cases, you will need to demonstrate that you have at least considered mediation before being allowed to take your divorce through the courts.
While mediation is suitable for most divorces, we appreciate that some people are unsure about how the process works, the advantages it offers and whether mediation is really appropriate for their situation. We aim to answer some of these basic questions, so you can have more confidence about choosing mediation for your divorce.
How mediation for divorce works
Mediation is the process of you and your spouse meeting with a trained, neutral mediator to discuss the details of your divorce and agree a financial settlement, arrangements for your children and anything else that needs to be sorted out.
Most divorcing couples have around three sessions of mediation, although this will depend on your circumstances and how much progress you are able to make in each session. Any agreement you reach during mediation will be voluntary, but you can apply for a Consent Order from a court to make the agreement legally binding.
A family court will usually require you to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to see if mediation could be right for you as part of the process of getting divorced.
Advantages of mediation for divorce
There are several key benefits to using mediation for your divorce that have contributed to its growing popularity.
Speed – Because you do not need to wait for a court date, it is usually much faster to get divorced using mediation than by going to court. By getting you and your ex-partner in one place, it can also speed up communications between you.
Cost – Mediation is generally much less expensive that court action because of the lower legal fees involved.
Avoiding conflict – The mediator’s job is to guide you to agreeing a solution while diffusing any potential for conflict. This not only makes the process of getting divorce more amicable, but can also allow you to maintain a better relationship with your ex. This can be highly beneficial, especially if you have children together.
Control – Mediation allows you to keep control of your divorce, rather than leaving the final decision in the hands of a judge.
Privacy – When you go to court, the proceedings are held in public, meaning the details of your divorce, including any financial settlement will be made public. Mediation allows you to keep your divorce private, meaning the details will only be known to your and your spouse.
Should you use mediation for your divorce?
Mediation is generally suitable for the vast majority of divorce cases. However, if the relationship between you and your spouse is particularly acrimonious, it may be difficult to keep the process productive. Mediation may also not be suitable in cases where there has been domestic abuse and a court will normally allow you to skip the requirement to consider mediation where this is the case.
If there are particularly complex issues to resolve, such as a business you own together, it may be worth considering collaborative law instead. This involves you and your spouse meeting to negotiate the terms of your divorce, each of you supported by your own lawyer trained in collaborative law. The aim is still to agree a mutually acceptable solution while minimising conflict, but means you each have your own legal representative to help unpick any complex issues and ensure your interests stay protected at all times.
Crisp & Co’s divorce solicitors in London and the South East have many years of experience helping people to get divorced quickly, cost-effectively and with minimal conflict using mediation and other non-confrontational methods. With a sensitive but practical approach, we aim to make getting divorced as straightforward as possible.
To find out more about mediation for divorce, call us now on 020 3797 4952 or use the enquiry form below and we will get back to you promptly.