Mediation is a way of resolving a dispute amicably between the parties with the assistance of an independent person (a ‘mediator’). This is an alternative to issuing court proceedings and is often less expensive.
If you and the other party agree to try mediation, you will both attend a meeting with an independent mediator who will advise you about mediation and your options. The mediator will then help you to reach an agreement between yourselves. The mediator will remain impartial and cannot offer legal advice. Mediation is not appropriate if there is or has been any domestic violence or harassment within the relationship.
Mediation can be used to resolve a wide variety of family disputes, such as contact arrangements for children or financial settlements on divorce. If you cannot reach an agreement at mediation, it is likely you would then need to instruct solicitors to assist negotiations and you may need to issue court proceedings.
If you attend mediation to agree the division of assets on divorce or dissolution, the agreement reached will usually be drawn up into a written agreement called a Memorandum of Understanding. You can then take this agreement to a solicitor and ask for it to be drafted into a Consent Order to be approved by the court in order to make the agreement binding. If you would like us to advise you on the fairness of the financial agreement you have reached, we will need to review the full financial disclosure. However, if you would just like to agree the agreement without advice on its terms, we can look at the agreement and prepare a Consent Order for you. The court will need to approve the Consent Order and seal it in order for the agreement to be binding.
We can help you by:
- Advising you on the agreement reached at mediation and the next steps
- Highlighting any issues that have not been considered or that you should consider further
- Advising you on your options if mediation is unsuccessful
- Assisting you with negotiations or arbitration if a specific issue remains in dispute
- Advising you on the fairness of the mediation agreement and financial disclosure, if the agreement is related to finances
- Drafting the mediation agreement you have agreed into a Consent Order for divorce or dissolution proceedings, if appropriate
- Advising you of the likely legal costs involved