Mediation is a voluntary process in which both the parties enlist the help of a mediator to assist
them to resolve areas of dispute between them. The mediator, usually a lawyer, is neutral and
merely facilitates the agreement. The mediator does not decide whether anyone is right or wrong
and will not put forward ideas.
During family mediations, the parties’ lawyers are not present. Several mediation sessions of about 1 hour in length usually take place over a month or two. Once agreement has been reached, this is documented and given to the parties’ lawyers to advise on.
Mediation can result in amicable agreements being reached at lower cost than would otherwise have been the case. It is not suitable, however, in circumstances where there is abuse or a very dominant partner. In view of the fact that lawyers are not present and the mediator is unable to make suggestions or say what a Court would award if asked, there is the possibility that an unfair or inappropriate agreement could be reached. Whilst lawyers are involved at the end of the process to give advice on the terms of the agreement, it is difficult to unpick an agreement to make it fair after it has been reached, because one party inevitably feels highly aggrieved. Consequently, we suggest that advice is taken from a lawyer before you enter into the mediation process, and between mediation sessions.
Mediation can be undertaken for any dispute. Usually it is useful in the areas of resolving financial disputes and disputes involving children.
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