What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a low cost and faster method for reaching a settlement when a couple plan to divorce. Since 2014, as part of Government reforms included in the Children and Families Bill, anyone seeking a court order to resolve a dispute over children, finances or splitting property must attend a MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting). (To read more about MIAM, Click Here). Whilst mediation is not compulsory, the courts will expect you to have tried it.
Is Divorce Mediation Compulsory?
As stated above, the courts will expect you to have attempted to mediate however, it is a voluntary option. It might be that your ex-partner is unwilling to mediate and if this is the case, then your mediator can confirm this and you may still apply to the courts for divorce. If this is the case, your mediator will prepare and sign a disclosure informing the court that you attempted mediation but your ex-partner refused. You will need to use C100 Form (To read more – Click Here) and your mediator will sign the relevant sections. There may be other reasons why mediation is not a suitable option and these includes situations where domestic violence has been a factor in your relationship or where any safeguarding issues may relevant.
What will Divorce Mediation Achieve?
Divorce mediation will allow you and your ex-partner to discuss what you both want from the end of your relationship. You must find agreement on child care arrangements and your joint financial affairs. This will include what you want to do with the family home if you one. How you will divide any savings, investments and other forms of income, such as from business partnerships or property rentals as an example. Pensions are another factor that an agreement is needed particularly for those couples who have been married for a long time.
What are the advantages to Divorce Mediation?
There are many. One of the biggest advantages is that you and your ex-partner get to decide all the terms of your settlement, from child care arrangements to finances and investments. Obviously, if you can’t reach agreement then you can ask the court to decide for you and in these circumstances, it is quite possible that any judicial ruling may not favour either of you.
The other big advantage is that divorce mediation can be considerably cheaper than seeking a settlement using a solicitor. It is estimated that divorce mediation is up 75% cheaper than solely using a solicitor. We always advise clients to seek advice from a solicitor as part of their divorce strategy. Most people who mediate their divorce settlement use a solicitor for advice but more importantly for drafting the various orders and petitions you may need. However, it is possible to do this yourself and the internet has numerous organisations offering online DIY / managed divorces. Using such organisations still means you need to have your agreements in place and mediation is the most cost effective route.
Finally, mediated divorces tend to be much quicker to conclude and reach agreement. Following on from your MIAM, your mediator will arrange a series of joint meetings, where you and your ex-partner begin the process of discussing your settlement terms. The number of joint meetings depends almost entirely upon how well you and your ex-partner get on during the sessions. Your mediator will ensure all discussions remain focussed and are also conducted in a safe and supportive environment. Finances, particularly when they are quite complex, may require additional joint meetings to reach agreement but this will become obvious as the mediation progresses. In some cases, it is possible to reach agreement by the conclusion of the first joint meeting.
If you would like to know more about Divorce Mediation or speak to one of our advisors, please call 0330 113 0005 (local rates apply) and ask about our Pre-Mediation Consultation or Click Here for more information