If you are involved in a dispute, the road to resolution isn’t always straightforward. Due to the complicated emotions which may be involved in family conflicts, it’s easy to let a disagreement escalate into a heated legal battle – especially for separating couples.
At Crisp & Co, our family solicitors are dedicated to dispute resolution and have a proven track record for securing a satisfying outcome outside of court. We achieve this through mediation.
Mediation is the process whereby the partners to a marriage, civil partnership or a couple who have lived together, have decided to separate and sort out the arrangements and details of their separation with the guidance of a trained mediator. Mediation has proven itself to be a successful method of resolution for many separating couples, as it allows mutual agreements to be reached in a calm environment and usually reduces the amount of time and money involved in divorce or dissolution. Mediation can also be beneficial for couples looking to salvage their relationship – perhaps for the sake of their children – as the mediator will always ensure that the discussion flows smoothly, reducing any tensions that may arise during the session.
The mediation process is often used in family disputes as a way of resolving the conflict as amicably as possible. After taking the time to listen and understand both sides of the argument, the role of the mediator is to actively promote constructive solutions while encouraging compromise between both parties. Not only does mediation minimise the fallout of a conflict, it also prevents a court from making an objective lasting decision on important matters such as children, property and finances. If you and your partner reach an agreement within your mediation sessions, this will be reflected in the final decision of the court. Where mediation fails due to one party’s lack of cooperation, the court will still look favourably on the other for attempting to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner.
At Crisp & Co we have one partner (Henry Crisp) who is fully legally qualified and a professional Mediator in addition to his primary role of assisting you and your family to sensitively resolve the many potential issues which may arise from a family breakdown. His skills have been developed after many years or practice in family law facilitating agreements over children, finances and all the other issues that can arise when a relationship comes to an end.
It is our aim to provide a seamless service that puts you and your children first with the ambition of achieving a ‘good divorce’, while avoiding the animosity that all too often marks a family breakdown.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that encourages separating couples to reach an agreement through guided negotiation outside of Court. The mediator will referee the discussion, helping both you and your partner to remain calm and be open to compromise. Not all couples are eligible for mediation, as it relies on the communication of both parties and the willingness to listen. When you work with Crisp & Co, we will provide on-going support and advice on how to reach an agreement while protecting your interests throughout the mediation process.
How does mediation work?
Before you and your partner can begin to resolve your issues through mediation, you will have to undergo a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (M.I.A.M). The complexity of your case along with the relationship you currently hold with your partner and your ability to communicate will define whether or not you are eligible for mediation.
If family mediation is for you, your personal family solicitor will arrange a session for you and your partner.
Before the first mediation meeting, the mediator will send you some general forms for both you and your partner to complete. These mediation forms help the mediator to understand what the issues are between you, and what are each party’s hopes, requirements and concerns. At the first mediation appointment, both you and your partner will set out the issues that need to be discussed and identify the information that will be required to meaningfully address these. Dates for future mediation appointments will be scheduled. The mediator will be responsible for managing the mediation process for both of you.
Both parties will be invited to take part in the next session alongside a qualified mediator. The role of the mediator is not to reconcile you or make decisions on your behalf, but to actively promote solutions that meet your needs and guide you through discussion until an agreement is reached. Mediation is about compromise, so it’s up to both you and your partner to be open to suggestions and communicate with each other adequately.
How is a mediated agreement reached?
Once you and your partner have reached an agreement, your dedicated mediator will prepare a summary of these proposals along with a document detailing the financial information that has been provided during the mediation process.
Next, both you and your partner will then spend some time with your respective family lawyers going through the proposals and receiving legal advice on them. If you are both happy with those proposals, then that summary will be converted into an appropriate legally binding document to enable the agreement to be implemented.
How many mediation sessions are needed?
The number of mediation sessions required would vary on the complexity of your case and the issues you are attempting to resolve. However, in general, most couples find that between 3 and 5 mediation sessions are sufficient in reaching an agreement.
It is important to emphasise that the mediator and the mediation process encourages both parties to obtain advice both before, during and after the mediation process. This promotes clarity and understanding and helps to avoid agreements ‘unravelling’ at a later date.
How much will mediation cost?
The cost of mediation will depend on various factors, for example the amount of sessions you require and the mediator who is assigned to your case. While there are certain fees involved with mediation, the process will cost considerably less than court proceedings and is arguably invaluable in keeping things amicable between you and your ex-partner. See our legal fees and paying page for more information.
I’m worried that my partner will dominate or take over the mediation session….
Mediators are trained to be neutral and are skilled in assessing and addressing any imbalances that may occur. Our mediators also ensure that the mediation sessions are comfortable and relaxed. The fundamental core concept of mediation is that both parties are actively encouraged to constructively engage in an informal and voluntary basis, outside the glare and circus of a traditional formal, contested court proceedings. It’s important to note, however, that mediation is not suitable for relationships with any history of domestic violence or intimidation.
What if mediation doesn’t work?
If mediation is unsuccessful in resolving issues between you and your partner, speak to your dedicated solicitor. You may be able to have your dispute heard by an arbitrator, who will listen to both sides of the dispute before making an objective decision on the outcome they see as fitting.
If the conflict between you and your partner has already escalated beyond alternative dispute resolution and you are facing the prospect of court, get in touch. Our mediation solicitors have the experience necessary to provide robust representation and protect your interests at all costs.
Is there anything I need to bring with me to my first appointment with Crisp & Co?
Before we can arrange your first mediation session, there are a few things our mediation solicitors will need from you. It is useful if you provide us with: -
- Your passport or photo identity driving licence plus another proof of identity with your name and address, such as a recent utility bill.
- Any letters or documents that have been sent to you by your partner/husband/wife’s solicitors.
- Any documents that have been sent to you by the Court.
Don’t worry if you cannot provide the information listed above at the first appointment, this can always be provided at a later date. However, the more information you can provide us with, the better we will be able to advise you.
If we can help, fill in our short enquiry form and we'll be in touch as soon as possible.