Family Law: To Mediate or Not to Mediate?
Instructing a solicitor is an expensive commodity which makes mediation an attractive alternative to issuing family law proceedings.
The Courts aim to reduce the number of cases they deal with by promoting parties to mediate in the hope that parties will reach a settlement outside of the Court arena. The Court promotes mediation through what is known as the ‘Pre-Application Protocol’. The protocol requires anyone making an application relating to either private law proceedings (Children Act) or proceedings for financial remedy to attend mediation as an initial step. A solicitor will always advise you to attend mediation if you haven’t already.
The first meeting, otherwise referred to as a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM), will consist of the mediator explaining how mediation works, assessing whether mediation is suitable to resolve your case and exploring other ways to resolve the issues.
We do recognise that mediation is not suitable for everyone. However, a Court will expect a certificate to be provided to evidence that you attended a MIAM before proceedings were issued. Failure to do so may result in the Court taking a dim view of your conduct. There are only some exceptional circumstances where parties do not have to attend mediation.
Mediation has many benefits in addition to saving costs. Flexibility and control is given to the parties in mediation and you are able to agree matters that may not be within a Court’s power to order.
We are able to recommend or arrange mediation for you. If you have been able to come to an agreement at mediation we can formalise your settlement. If however mediation is unsuccessful, we can advise you of the next steps.
If you wish to discuss this further, please contact Lynn Gooch on 01992 578642 for more information.