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Mediation is:

  • the process of negotiating decisions about the children and money matters.

When people leave relationships many practical matters have to be agreed. How will finances be arranged to enable them to live apart? What arrangements will need to be made for the children? When couples cannot agree there are two ways of dealing with these issues:

  • By Mediating
    The mediator will work with you both, enabling you to find practical solutions.
    You remain in control of the outcome.
  • By instructing solicitors
    If no agreement is reached between your solicitors, the matter will go to court where a judge will dictate the outcome.

Mediation is:

  • A way of solving problems without going to court.
  • A safe and neutral environment in which to discuss issues privately, decisions being made with the help of a mediator.
  • The preferred option if you want to settle matters quickly and with the minimum of aggravation but need some help.
  • A cheaper option – it may well be free! You can earn up to approximately £28,000 and still be eligible for public funding (legal Aid).

Mediation is not:

  • Judgemental. The mediator will not say who is right or wrong.
  • Counselling
  • Marriage guidance

How can mediation help me?

  • The mediator will help each of you put your point of view and be heard by the other, and help you to express your feelings without arguments.
  • The mediator will explain legal principles, explore and identify various options with you both.
  • You will be helped to make your own informed decisions rather than be stuck with the decision imposed upon you by the judge.
  • Mediation will strengthen communication and avoid the hostility created by court proceedings.

Will I still need a solicitor?

  • It is always sensible to know your legal rights, as this helps you to make informed decisions, and if you wish the proposals put forward in mediation to be made legally binding, you will probably need a solicitor.

How long does mediation take?

  • Sessions last for about an hour and a half
  • There are usually around four sessions but there may be more or less, depending on the complexity and number of issues under discussion.

What happens at the end of mediation?

  • The mediator will provide a document clearly setting out the proposals you want to go ahead with.
  • This document is to enable you to take legal advice if you wish, before agreeing that the proposals are binding.
  • Most mediations are successful, but if you can’t agree, the mediation breaks down. You can then pursue matters through solicitors, if agreement still can’t be reached, you will end up in court.
  • Even then, 95% of cases are settled at the doors of the court. This is often after great expense, stress and bitterness.

How do I find a mediator?

  • Relate Bournemouth now offers a mediation service please call 01202 311231 to book an appointment
  • You can also click HERE for the link to the Family Mediation Council.

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