Due to recent changes in family law, anyone intending to make a Court application must first attend a mediation session with a suitably accredited mediator. The other party will be invited to attend the meeting and if the meeting is unsuccessful, a Court application may then be issued. Even in the event of the other party not turning up to the mediation session, the mediator will deem the meeting unsuccessful allowing for a possible Court application to be made.
Mediators assist both parties with identifying issues of conflict between them including financial and children issues relating to relationship breakdown. Mediators will not give legal advice although the notes that are made during a mediation session are usually forwarded to any solicitors instructed by way of a summary to assist with legal negotiations and with a view to drafting a legally binding document, which both parties would receive independent legal advice on.
If both parties decide to attend mediation, it can be a successful and satisfying process which can save on the need to pay for further legal costs if an agreement is reached between the parties. If necessary, more than one mediation session can be booked in the event that all of the issues cannot be agreed during one meeting as this can allow time for further information to be obtained if necessary for further discussions to take place.
Mediation is not however always suitable especially in cases involving domestic abuse and in some circumstances where relations between both parties are far from amicable meaning that a Court application is the only option.
Solicitors have a duty to mention mediation to clients early on in their instruction so that it may be considered by both parties in order that the issues between them are narrowed as quickly as possible.
If you would like more information, speak to our Family Law Solicitor, Louisa Gothard on 020 7998 7777 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.