A Guide to Mediation
Mediation is a way to resolve disputes in a non-confrontational and cost effective way.
It assists clients in making their own decisions about arrangements for their family following separation, a divorce, or the end of a civil partnership. It is an alternative to the court process but can also be used alongside court proceedings in the hope that matters can be resolved to avoid some or all of that litigation.
Why does mediation work?
- Confidential: it provides you with a forum to talk safely, privately and calmly which gives a much better chance of reaching decisions that work for your family;
- Creativity: it allows you to consider and discuss options that are tailored specifically to suit your own circumstances and those of your family;
- Cost effective: it means you can avoid the Court process and the emotional and financial cost that often comes with it;
- Communication: it often works to improve communication to enable you to deal with future problems more effectively; and
- Children: it benefits your children by helping parents to work together to plan for their future.
Mediation is particularly effective for parents who wish to sort out arrangements for their children following a separation and when they are no longer living together. A mediator’s role is to help you focus on what is best for your children and to discuss with you how to make sure your children’s views are heard. That way, you are more likely to reach decisions that work and that ensure their future security and happiness.
How does mediation work?
Mediators listen to find out what is important to you and your family. The process helps you to make decisions to deal with things when relationships change. The focus is on finding the best way forward with practical solutions that work for everyone, including your children if you have them.
You will have a number of sessions together with the mediator which last around 1-2 hours each. When you are both satisfied with the choices and decisions you have reached, your lawyer will then complete your legal formalities if needed.
It is standard for mediators to mediate alone but it is possible to work in twos which can be an effective option. Katie offers this service with a co-mediator colleague who trained with her through Resolution.
Katie O’Callaghan is a qualified family mediator.