When you have taken the difficult step of deciding to separate or divorce, working out your future arrangements for your children, property, maintenance payments and shared business interests can lead to a great deal of anguish.
If you have not come to an agreement by yourselves, it may well be in your interests to consider the alternate avenues before asking the court to help you.
Family Law Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer, Amanda Brown at Family Law Group in Nottingham advises, “If you do make an application to the court at a later stage, you will be asked to submit paperwork confirming whether you have attended a mediation assessment meeting, (MIAMS) or mediation.”
Mediation is a route that many divorcing couples find beneficial. An independent mediator will meet with you and your spouse, and together you will explore possible solutions to any disputes that you may have in a safe environment, in which the discussions remain confidential. Mediators may or may not be qualified solicitors.
The benefit of mediation is that you and your spouse can choose who you wish to mediate for you, and which issues you want to mediate. For example, if you have agreed the finances, but need help with agreeing contact arrangements for the children, mediation can be centred around that topic.
The mediator will initially ask to meet you individually to discuss your case, although you can meet together. You will then have a series of mediation sessions to try to resolve your dispute. The mediator will always advise you both to take your own independent legal advice alongside your mediation sessions.
In mediation, no agreement is binding unless it is an interim arrangement for example, for maintenance or contact with the children. You will leave the mediation session with proposals that the mediator will prepare as a Memorandum of Understanding for you to take to your own respective Solicitors. They will then prepare a draft order and other prescribed documents for the court to ratify. To approve the order the court will check that the agreement you have reached is fair to both of you according to English Law, but will accept that compromises may have been made.
In terms of the time-frame, mediation sessions can be booked at your convenience, and therefore the process can take place at the pace with which you are both comfortable.
Amanda Brown, Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer
If you would like more information about using mediation or collaborative practice in divorce or separation, contact Amanda Brown, Mediator at Family Law Group, for a confidential discussion on 0115 945 4555 or at firstname.lastname@example.org