If your relationship has broken down, you and your ex-partner will probably have a number of matters you need to sort out. For example, how are you going to divide your assets? Who is going to remain in the marital home? And what about future child care arrangements?
These are all issues that must be resolved before a court will grant a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. Even if you are separating, it is important for an agreement to be reached, as this will allow you and your family to move forwards without the worry of a dispute hanging over your head.
If you and your ex-partner are able to finalise an arrangement, you should ask a solicitor to draw up a formal separation agreement. This can then be used when you apply for divorce, making the entire process much simpler. If, however, you are not able to come to a mutually agreeable conclusion, you should consider the route of family mediation.
What is family mediation?
If your relationship has ended and you still have outstanding issues to resolve, family mediation can help you reach an agreement without the need for court intervention. Even if you are certain you and your ex-partner will not be able to work together, you are now required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before you begin court proceedings.
The process works by asking an independent third party to act as a mediator. All mediators have had special training and are well-placed to help people whose relationship has broken down. The first step is to decide upon a neutral location. Once this is established, you, your ex-partner and your mediator will meet up to discuss your concerns. The mediator remains impartial at all times: he/she is there simply to guide discussions, ensuring each person has a say.
Together you will work through your individual grievances, all the while trying to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. If you do manage to resolve your disputes, you can make the agreement legally binding by applying to the court for a consent order.
How can mediation help my family?
Mediation has a number of benefits and is considered a better option than going to court. In particular, it helps to settle disagreements in a calm and considered fashion. This will be advantageous for any family set-up, as reducing the amount of conflict will help preserve some sort of working relationship – something which is especially important if there are children involved.
Furthermore, pursuing litigation in the courts can be expensive and time-consuming. Mediation can minimise both these elements, as a successful conclusion will reduce the cost of divorce and speed up the entire process. Even if your case does end up in court, you can rest assured that everything that has been said during your mediation meetings will remain confidential.
Where can I find out more about mediation?
To find out more about mediation, contact a family solicitor at Roskell Davies to discuss your options.
Complete a free online enquiry here.
Alternatively call us on 0800 142 2901 today.