QualitySolicitors Chapman & Chubb

QualitySolicitors Chapman & Chubb
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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mediation - What is it?

Mediation will become statutory in the new divorce process that comes into law from April 5th 2011. For those who have never heard of it or know little about it, here are some simple details about the mediation process offered by QualitySolicitors Chapman & Chubb

Mediation is a process by which couples try to make decision and reach agreement in relation to practical problems facing them when their relationships break down i.e. financial support, division of assets, and arrangements for children. They do this with the support and guidance of a specially trained and impartial third person called a mediator.

Instead of each person hiring a solicitor to negotiate on their behalf the mediator will help separating couples discuss together the best solution for their family in an informal environment to reach an amicable agreement which is fair and just.

Mediation is much quicker and less expensive that Court Proceedings; the average cost of a settlement by mediation is about 70% less that the cost of conventional Court Proceedings, and where the couple is eligible for legal aid for mediation, the statutory charge does not apply. In short, the couple end up keeping much more of their own money.

Mediation is normally concluded with 4-6 sessions each lasting about 1½ hours. Court proceedings relating to the same issues last on average 6-12 months.

Mediation is confidential so that the proposals can be discussed freely and openly, without fear.

Mediation is of particular benefit if there are children involved. The mediation process helps to support the parental relationship, enabling parents to discuss matters together for the benefit of their children making it more likely that they will be able to co-operate with each other as ‘mum and dad’ for the sake of the children, even if their relationship has broken down.

Mediation enables couples to focus on resolving their problems in a constructive rather than destructive way, aiming to minimise hostility and conflict and reduce emotional stress.

Mediation enables couples to agree arrangements which are right for them rather than have solutions imposed on them by the Courts or the judicial system. The mediator will help to ensure that any agreement is realistic and viable.

Legal aid is available for mediation but you will need to speak with your solicitor or mediator to see if you or your partner qualifies. The preliminary meeting is free of charge in any event. Even if neither of you qualify the costs of mediation will usually be much less than for conventional proceedings.

Mediation is charged for on a session by session basis, each session usually about 90 minutes in length – on average 2-6 sessions are needed depending on the complexity and nature of the problems.

Our Mediator – Aileen Chapman

Aileen is a lawyer mediator. Lawyer mediators are well versed in the intricacies of family law as well as being specially trained in mediation. As a lawyer mediator subscribing to the mediation Code of Practice of the UK College of Family Mediators which is approved by the Law Society and the Legal Services Commission, Aileen has the specific knowledge and skills to conduct mediations in relation to all the issues facing separating couples.

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