Since 2011, all divorcing couples have to consider using mediation to resolve any issues before starting financial proceedings at the time of divorce, and also arrangements concerning the children, such as contact and residence. The only exemption is where there is evidence of domestic violence.
Mediation is a great way of avoiding stress and saving time and money.
Most people want their divorce or separation to be as pain-free and amicable as possible, and mediation can help achieve that. If there are children involved in the split, then separating with as little disruption to their lives is a particularly important factor to consider.
The other main benefit of mediation is that the agreement will have been reached by the couple, rather than made for them by a court. Any agreement that they do reach can then be made into a court order and become legally binding.
There is no doubt that mediation can speed up the process as it cuts out a lot of the lengthy correspondence which often otherwise takes place.
So, what is the process of mediation?
The process is usually quite straightforward:
First, an initial assessment will identify the areas that need resolving, usually, finances and children
This is followed by a series of mediation sessions
A memorandum of understanding and a financial statement are drawn up and can then be used as the basis for a legal settlement
Mediation does require a certain level of emotional investment, which you may feel unprepared for. However, it is worth discussing your options with a family lawyer who can help you decide if it is the right route for you.