What is Mediation?
When relationships break down, mediation helps couples to decide arrangements for their children and the family finances without having to go to court. Mediation involves a series of meetings where the mediator works with the couple to help them discuss the issues and find solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner.
If you’re getting divorced or separating from your partner, it’s better if you can sort out arrangements for the future between yourselves. Mediation can help you to reach decisions together, which are more likely to work in the long term than orders imposed on you by the court.
Mediation can help you find a solution that puts children first, meets everyone’s needs and that you all feel is fair. Mediation doesn’t involve “winners” and “losers” but instead leads to outcomes that work for everyone.
Mediation is a dignified, civilised way to resolve issues. Talking at mediation can help to reduce tension, anger and misunderstandings. Mediation can help parents to communicate more effectively and discuss what their co-parenting relationship might look like, moving forward.
It offers a less expensive and quicker option overall.
Who Can Use Mediation?
Anyone can mediate – married – living together – with or without children – same sex or opposite sex.
Mediation is voluntary, it only works if everyone agrees to take part and no-one feels threatened or pressured. Everyone needs to be prepared to share information with each other and with the mediator.
If you don’t feel that mediation is working for you, you can end it at any time.
What Can I use Mediation For?
The most common topics people want to talk about at mediation, are issues about children and money. For instance, to decide the day to day arrangements for looking after the children, arrangements for Christmas, holidays and special occasions – to decide how to divide the family assets, or to decide who takes responsibility for the debts.
At What Stage Can I Use Mediation?
You can use mediation whenever you feel it might be helpful – you could be still living together, separated or divorced. You can use mediation whether or not you have a solicitor and whether or not court proceedings have been issued.
What If My Partner is Violent or Threatening?
Mediators have a duty to make sure that everyone who attends mediation feels safe. At your initial one to one assessment meetings, the mediator will carry out safeguarding checks to see if there is any reason why mediation wouldn’t be safe.
If you are worried about your safety or your children’s safety you must tell the mediator. The mediator will work with you to see if mediation can take place safely.
If you don’t want your partner to know your address or phone number, these details can be kept private.
What If I Don’t Use Mediation?
You don’t have to use mediation to help settle arrangements for the future – you can negotiate directly with your partner or you can ask a solicitor to negotiate with your partner. You solicitor might still suggest that you try mediation. In most cases it isn’t possible to apply to the court to settle your dispute unless you have attended a mediation assessment meeting first to explore whether mediation might be an appropriate way forward.
Do I Still Need a Solicitor if I Use Mediation?
You may find it helpful to talk to a solicitor before you start mediation or during the mediation process. Your solicitor can give you information and advice about what might happen if you go to court. A mediator is a neutral, impartial third party and cannot tell you what to do, so advice from your solicitor may assist you during the mediation process.
You may also need a solicitor to draw up a formal agreement or an order so that the court can make your decisions legally binding.
Is Mediation the Same as Counselling?
No – counselling is about you and your relationship with the other person. Counselling helps you to understand and deal with your feelings and emotions. Sometimes counselling helps couples to stay together.
Mediation is about the practical and legal arrangements you and your partner make about your children or money after relationship breakdown. It is a way of making decisions and settling issues.
Sometimes it can be helpful to see a counsellor at the same time as going to mediation, so that you can talk to someone about how you are feeling.
What Happens in Mediation?
Mediation takes place in a private and informal setting. No-one else can be present unless everyone agrees.
The first stage of mediation is for both of you to attend separate mediation information and assessment meetings, to find out about mediation, to have a chance to meet the mediator and explain your issues, to carry out safeguarding checks and to see if legal aid might be granted.
At your assessment meeting, you can decide whether you think mediation might help you and the mediator will decide if the case is suitable for mediation.
If you both decide to go ahead and the mediator thinks mediation is suitable, the first joint meeting takes place. The mediator is there to help both of you, to facilitate a meaningful discussion between you – to make sure that you both have a chance to talk, that you both listen to each other, that you try to see things from the other person’s point of view and that you do the best you can to think of solutions to your issues.
The mediator will not tell you what to do, or take sides, but can share ideas with you and help you to explore different solutions.
If you have money issues to resolve, the mediator will ask you to provide documents to show your income, assets, pensions, liabilities and any other important financial information. This exercise is essential so that you can both make informed decisions and, if necessary, obtain a legally binding court order.
Is Mediation Confidential?
What you say at mediation is normally confidential. The mediator will only pass on information to some else if you both agree. However, if the mediator believes that someone (child or adult) is at risk, they will make sure the Police or Social services are informed. If the mediator believes that either of you is benefitting or has benefitted from proceeds of crime, the mediator will stop the mediation and make a report to the authorities.
In general, what you say in mediation is private and can’t be used later in Court. However, that doesn’t apply to factual financial documents which can be used later in court proceedings.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
Most people attend 2-5 mediation sessions which usually last between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. Usually, people need a couple of weeks at least in-between mediation meetings, to gather information and take advice.
What Happens at the End of Mediation?
The mediator will send you a written summary of the decisions you have made together. This is not a legally binding document and you may need help from a solicitor to produce a legal agreement or agreed court order.
Would Mediation be Suitable for Us?
You don’t have to be friendly to mediate, but you do have to be willing to talk, listen and problem solve in order to successfully mediate. Mediation is a process designed to help resolve disputes, but it may not be appropriate if feelings are very raw, or if anyone feels threatened or at risk.
If, despite any differences you have, you want to avoid court proceedings and achieve a fair outcome, you will almost certainly benefit from mediation.
Divorce and Separation
Mediation services for divorce and separation
Mediation services for children and parent disputes
Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements
Pre & post nuptial agreements for marriage & same sex partnerships
Mediation services for cohabitation disputes
Child Inclusive Mediation
Including children in Mediation
Mediation for financial disputes in Divorce & Dissolution of Civil Partnerships
Mediation for cohabitation agreements
Get In Touch
The Hall, Lairgate
Beverley, HU17 8HL
Monday - Friday
09:00 - 17:30
At Pathway Mediation we recognise that family breakdown is one of the most stressful experiences you will go through. We have over 90 years of experience between us in this field so we are confident that we will be able to help you find a fair outcome for your family.
Pathway Mediation Limited
T: 01482 738567