The Ministry of Justice have announced that they are going to insist that separating couples consider using mediation in order to resolve their disputes prior to making an application to the Court.
They need to have at least one mediation awareness session where they will both find out what the process can offer before they decide whether it is right for them or not.
Mr Djamogly states “Mediation is often quicker and less confrontational than going to Court”.
“Now everyone will have the opportunity to see if Mediation could be a better solution than going straight to Court”.
Everyone always has had the opportunity to consider Mediation. Most of the solicitors of my acquaintance, myself included, discuss Mediation at the first appointment and actively encourage parties to Mediate. Often there are times when Mediation has started and not continued for various reasons. Mediation has been regarded as a panacea of goodness and there are cases where even the mediated agreement cannot be incorporated into a Consent Order because the parties have failed to take legal advice at the appropriate stage. My advice is:
- Attempt to Mediate.
- Make sure the Mediator is a qualified solicitor.
- Instruct your own solicitor prior to each appointment with the Mediator. It may sound cynical, but Mediators are trained differently to solicitors. As a trained Mediator, I understand that the quest for a solution sometimes can work against one party’s best financial interest. As a solicitor, I will always have my client’s best interests at heart. This is not a bad thing, but people need to understand the difference prior to embarking upon Mediation.
Mediation can indeed work provided both parties are prepared to be reasonable and negotiate. It is not a situation where you expect to go into the arena and win everything. That said, neither is the Divorce Court. Sometimes people will have no choice other than to go to Court. For example, if you have an extremely unreasonable ex, or if you have an intractable problem, such as the sale of the former matrimonial home.
It will be interesting to see how this develops.