Family Mediation Week

23 January 2017
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We at John Fowlers Solicitors encourage mediation in relation to all family related disputes, including matrimonial separation and divorce as well as children matters and cohabitation breakdown and associated property issues.

Mediation is the involvement of an impartial third party to support and help those involved in a conflict to find a resolution. The key difference between solicitor negotiation and mediation is that the latter the parties involved work out their own agreement and the parties have the support of a third party, the mediator, to help them reach an agreement. Mediation, whether formal or informal, can often help solve conflicts that jeopardise reaching a settlement amicably.

Mediation is a creative solution limited only by both parties’ willingness to negotiate creatively. Clients can decide for themselves whether and how they would like to resolve a situation. This self-determination aspect of mediation often corresponds to higher aspirations of how individuals wish to conduct their lives. The more open the parties are to brainstorming with the mediator and the other party in order to resolve issues, the more possible resolutions there are.

Mediation is important in family matters, allowing for the preservation of the parties’ long-term relationship. If there are children, whether the mediation covers finances or children an amicable resolution allows both parties to happily attend their children’s special events in the future such as graduations, weddings, grandchildren activities, etc.

Initially we assess and evaluate clients as to whether mediation is suitable to them since it is not for everyone.  Usually, we recommend that clients attempt at least one session on mediation to be able to make an independent decision as to whether mediation is suited to them. By approaching areas of disputes through mediation parties may save an enormous amount of time, energy, and expense associated with conflict and litigation.

Mediation is not limited to contact issues or financial disputes, it can be used by cohabitants to reach a cohabitation agreement as well as couples wishing to enter into a Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements.

One of our Partners, Sheila Crosby, is an accredited collaborative lawyer where both parties each instruct their own trained collaborative lawyer. All negotiations are done in face-to-face meetings (called “4-ways”) with you, your partner and the two lawyers working together to resolve the issues often thinking creatively to develop scenarios to meet the parties’ own requirements rather than the usual financial order a court would make when given those parties’ particular circumstances.  You agree not to go to court apart from dealing with uncontested divorce proceedings and receiving court approval for the financial agreement that you reach.

You and your partner disclose all relevant financial and other information openly and honestly throughout the collaborative process with the help of the lawyers. The parties set the agenda and the timetable and discuss what matters to them at their own pace.

Another of our Partners, Ian Bradford, is an accredited civil and commercial mediator having gained his accreditation through the London School of Mediation in 2012.