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Is Mediation Worth it?

The court process for many is lengthy, stressful, and highly emotional. Many individuals believe that court room is the only solution. However, mediation can be a suitable alternative where parties want to avoid the emotional roller coaster of court.

Mediation is the process whereby an independent trained mediator help parties reach a solution when there is a dispute regarding children or finances. Mediation helps parties come up with their own solution and avoid the court system. Solicitors can also be mediators, and our Simon Craddock (Partner in the Children Team) is also a qualified mediator.

Mediation aims to reduce conflict and hostility and instead promote co-operation. Parties are encouraged to work together collaboratively and find their own solution. Parties have the freedom to put forward their own proposals and discuss with the assistance of a mediator if their plans would be viable. This is an important skill where parties have children as they will have to learn how to co-parent after separation. Children often suffer emotionally after their parent’s separate, leaving on good terms will help minimise on the impact.

By contrast the court process is quite long and can elongate the emotional pain of separation. This can heighten anxieties and hostility towards your ex-partner. If parties cannot come to a solution the court will impose a decision, which may not be favourable to either party. Mediation gives the power to individuals to choose their family’s future.

The Government has opted to invest a further £1.3 million into family mediation, by creating a time-limited voucher scheme. Eligible parties can take advantage of the mediation voucher scheme, and eligible, parties will be entitled to £500 per family towards the costs of mediation.

The mediation voucher scheme is only available to disputes regarding children, but it can also apply to financial disputes if parties are also involved in disputes over children.

To be eligible for the mediation voucher scheme you must first attend a MIAM appointment. The mediator will assess the issues and determine whether the matter is suitable for mediation. It is important to note that mediation will only work when both parties agree to part take. Please note if you are a victim mediation will not be suitable for your matter.  If the mediator deems your matter to be appropriate for mediation you will be awarded the voucher.

Agreements reached at Mediation are not legally binding in themself, however agreements can be formalised in a Consent Order if it is felt necessary. To do this you will need to instruct a solicitor and submit the consent order to your local court for their approval. This then creates a legally binding agreement and enables it to be enforced if one party breaches it.

If mediation is not successful or one party does not engage then you will need to make an application to court. At Brethertons LLP Solicitors we have a team of experts of who can help you with all of your legal matter and guide you through the Court process. If you would like further information or to speak to our Family team please contact us on 01295 270999 or email info@brethertons.co.uk