Top questions asked about family mediation
Last week was national family mediation week. As the family mediator for our Southampton and Portsmouth offices I volunteered to take part in a Twitter Q & A. This gave anyone on Twitter the opportunity to ask me any questions about family mediation.
I was asked by the majority if it was possible to determine for themselves how a court might deal with their financial assets. Family law is a very discretionary area of law and therefore it is sometimes hard to predict exactly what outcome a judge might favour, as each case turns on its own facts. I was able to reply to these enquirers that by trying to resolve matters in mediation this gives the couple much more control. They are given the opportunity to come up with their own financial agreement, following a process of obtaining the necessary financial information which is part of the mediation process. As a mediator I am neutral between the couple, and can provide legal information to help them come up with possible options. They can also take their own legal advice alongside the mediation process.
The other main area of questions centred on costs, and whether mediation would be cheaper. I was able to answer that mediation is usually much cheaper than going to court. It can often take less time too as it goes at the couple's pace. The couple can share the mediation fees equally, or they can split them in whatever proportions they agree. Typically a couple will have around four one and a half hour sessions over a few weeks to resolve matters. This number can vary depending on how much or how little there is to discuss, and the complexity or not of the assets. They can also discuss arrangements for any children if they want to.
I hope that national family mediation week helped to raise the profile of family mediation so more families can benefit from a process which is often cheaper and gives them more control.