Join our Mediated Settlement Programme
Join our Mediated Settlement Programme
In January 2015 we launched our Mediated Settlement Programme.
The idea is to help clients choose to use mediation to resolve disagreements arising from separation or divorce.
Mediation is assisted negotiation. Mediation helps those taking part to make informed decisions. It helps them to make the right decisions for their family.
How does our Mediation Settlement Programme work?
- We meet with each of you separately to make sure that mediation is the right process for them. We discuss what the issues are and what the costs may be. We make sure that there are no safety issues which would make mediation unsuitable. We get to know you and understand what needs to be resolved.
- We all agree to mediate.
- We all agree the best format for the mediation. Do we have one full day to do everything? Do we have two meetings? Do we invite Solicitors? Do we use separate rooms or do we all meet in the same room? Do we need to find out the views of relevant children?
- We will set up the meetings in a way which allows negotiations the best opportunity to succeed. Meetings will be structured in a way best suited to your needs.
- If we proceed without Solicitors present, you can have confidence that legal issues will not be overlooked.
- We agree a timetable. We fix a date for the first joint meeting. You will gather any financial information needed.
- We Mediate!
- We can assist you to access focused legal advice and other advice and information when you need it to make informed decisions.
- We make sure negotiations are focused and fair.
- We can give up to date legal information and will inform you if proposals are not what a Court would consider reasonable.
- We assist you to complete the level of financial disclosure that Courts and Lawyers will expect.
- We can refer you to financial experts if needed to enable you understand the range of financial options.
Choosing the right Mediator for you
Divorce is a Legal process and I believe that Mediation works best when the Mediator is also a practicing Solicitor.
The reason for this is simple:
Before a financial settlement on divorce becomes binding it must be approved by a Judge as being reasonable. There needs to be a Court Order. This is a legal document. It can often be quite detailed. Complex legal issues may arise.
The Law of Divorce is deliberately vague in the sense that it gives a Judge a lot of flexibility. This is to ensure that the outcome is fair and is tailored to the specific situation and needs of the family.
Being informed means being aware of all relevant information. This can mean legal information and financial information as well as legal and financial advice.
Successful Mediation is about making informed decisions
Because a mediator is neutral and assisting both of the couple equally they cannot give advice to both or either. The Mediator can give information. This is short of advice. It can be detailed. It can be about legal principles. This information cannot be advice though. The Mediator can also highlight where either or both of the couple need to take specific advice to enable them to make informed decisions.
If the mediator does not highlight when the couple need to take legal advice in order to enable them to make an informed decisions, they are potentially doing their clients a major disservice. If the right advice is not received at the right time, either or both may make bad decisions. If bad decisions come to light when the final Court Order is being drafted, there is a likelihood that the proposals from mediation will unravel. If mediated proposals unravel, not only have the couple wasted their time and money, but there has been a further breach of trust between them and their relations will be further damaged.
When I am acting for a client in my capacity as a Solicitor, I will, if possible refer my clients to mediation with a Mediator who is also a practicing solicitor. This is because I have greater confidence that they will be referred back to me for advice at the right time and also that the mediator will assist the couple to negotiate a settlement which is comprehensive.
The advantages of a Mediator who is also a practicing Solicitor
Remember, before joint proposals from mediation can become legally binding they need to be approved by a Judge. A Mediator is not allowed to prepare a final Court Order because of rules which apply to all mediators, but a Mediator who is also a Solicitor will make sure you have considered all relevant issues so that your mediated agreement is comprehensive and clear.
Arguing in Court can cost thousands of pounds. Can you afford not to join our Mediated Settlement Programme?
I am a family mediator in Honiton, a family mediator in Exeter, a family mediator in Taunton. We have a contract with the legal aid agency and offer legal aid for mediation. We undertake mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAM). Where a person qualifies for legal aid for mediation all of their costs for the mediation are paid by the legal aid agency and it can be said that for them mediation is free. I have been a family mediator since 1996 and supervise the work of other mediators. I am trained and qualified to meet with children as part of the mediation process. In the past I have served as an elected trustee of the Family Mediators Association. (FMA) I am accredited as an expert family mediator by the Law Society. I am the elected chair of the Devon region of the family solicitors organisation Resolution. I have been qualified as a solicitor since 1992 and have always specialised in family law. Mediation isn’t always the best option for clients, but where it is appropriate and can be set up properly, the benefits to both parties and to their children can be substantial.