When you read about Mediation, for the most part, you will read how beneficial it can be for you and your family, but we wanted to look at the disadvantages or rather differences between mediation and the standard process of resolution of divorce or dispute in the court.
Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you work out arrangements for children and finances following separation. The important thing to remember with Mediation is that it allows you to stay in control and no one will be able to make you do anything outside your wishes.
- The Mediator cannot tell you what the right outcome is. In family law generally there is no one-size-fits-all approach. There is a wide discretion of possible outcomes. The purpose of the mediator is to guide you through each topic on your mediation agenda where you both can openly discuss each matter, opinions, and desired outcomes. The mediator is unable to tell you the right outcome – they do not have the power to impose decisions on you, but they can mediate the process so that between yourselves, you can find a solution that fits everyone involved. This is where mediation is a better way for you and your partner than the court if the option is available. In court, you will not have the option to jointly decide, the judge will decide what is right for you and this outcome may not be what is best for both parties.
- Mediation isn’t legally binding. The mediation sessions are designed to help you and your partner/spouse reach an agreement that suits both of you. If an agreement is reached, the next step is for a lawyer to draft the legal consent order which is then submitted to the court, and if approved becomes legally binding. Your mediator can let you know the steps needed in submitting this to the court, in the most time and cost-effective way but they cannot do this for you.
- Mediation relies on honesty and transparency from both parties. Each partner/spouse is required to submit financial documents in mediation and complete the required forms. The mediator does not verify the financial information, so the mediation process relies on supplying accurate and correct information, also known as ‘full and frank’ financial disclosure.
- Sometimes Mediation can feel slow. The key to a successful mediation intervention is that both clients are motivated to progress and reach an agreement. If one of the partners/spouses do not invest in the process and doesn’t complete paperwork at the relevant times, this can make the mediation process slower. Sometimes waiting on an expert report from an accountant or a pension actuary will slow the process down but this would be the case if you were negotiating through lawyers or in court proceedings.
- You might not be able to reach an agreement on everything. If an agreement cannot be reached, the desired outcome from the mediation process could involve narrowing the number of issues between you that require the court to decide which would save time and money. Some clients choose to deal with financial issues through lawyers and child-related discussions with a mediator.
Although listed above are some of the disadvantages of Mediation, in many cases, it is still a better way to resolve disputes between separating couples in the most time and cost-effective manner. Separation is a stressful time, and the work of a mediator is to reduce the impact caused to each person and any children. If you have any further questions on Mediation, some frequently asked questions can be found over on my website, by clicking here.
If you think Mediation is something that would be suited to your requirements, please get in touch today. I provide online mediation services via video conferencing and face to face appointments in Clifton, Bristol.