Using mediation to resolve family disputes

Family mediation helps you to resolve disputes that arise during your separation, and can cover both finances and arrangements for children.

A mediator is an impartial third person who can offer invaluable support to couples to communicate with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions. There is always so much to sort out when a relationship breaks down and a good mediator will help you find practical solutions for you both moving forward. Mediation is a voluntary process - this means that you both have a vested interest in finding constructive and workable solutions. Mediation is also confidential (save for very limited exceptions) meaning couples have a safe space to explore all options together. This can often provide the confidence and freedom to be more flexible.

It can be difficult to work out finances and arrangements for children when couples separate but the aim of mediation is to help people work through their difficulties together so that they can move forward with minimal animosity.

Mediation has many benefits, including:

  • giving you both control over the process – meetings and timeframes can be scheduled to suit your availability
  • giving you both control over the outcome - recognising that separation is most often a distressing time for the family as a whole and working together towards workable solutions for everybody
  • empowering you to achieve a settlement that benefits your entire family. Mediation allows you to be creative in order to meet your family‘s needs. This means that the outcome reached may be more long lasting - minimising potential future disputes or litigation
  • a less stressful procedure than court litigation
  • improving your communication - even helping couples start to communicate again which in turn helps preserve the effectiveness of any co-parenting relationships going forward
  • a more beneficial process for children as the level of conflict is reduced
  • providing a summary of the outcome which can then be turned into a legally binding agreement by the court – a quicker and cheaper process than negotiation through solicitors and court
  • helping you at any time during your separation process - whether you have started court proceedings or not

What can I expect from a mediation meeting?

There are many different forms of mediation, developed over time to support clients through the process. This includes shuttle mediation where couples prefer not to be seated in the same room (or in front of the same screen) and the mediator goes back and forth between them to facilitate discussions. Hybrid mediation is also becoming increasingly popular – where there is solicitor assisted mediation, you can take your solicitor along for support and advice as required. Mediation can be tailored to you so that it can be as safe and as successful as possible.

Generally, people arrive to the mediation meeting separately and the mediator will promptly collect you and start the meeting to avoid anyone feeling awkward but, if you prefer, arrival and departure times can be staggered.

You will be encouraged to be future focussed and to put your emotional issues to one side during the meetings inasmuch as you possibly can. The mediator will work at the pace of the person least familiar with the issue in discussion to ensure the process is as even handed and fair as possible.

How we can help

Russell-Cooke’s private client team assists families and individuals, including international non-domiciled and domiciled individuals, and business owners. Please do contact us for more information. We can meet you online, in Kingston or in Cobham.

*This article appears as published in The Elmbridge Magazine