Family Mediation - not "meditation"
I am very aware that not many people understand what family mediation is, with it often being confused with "meditation" or counselling. This article is the first attempt to try and rectify this.
What is family mediation?
It is understandable that, unless you are a family mediator or a family lawyer or have been through the mediation process as a client, you may not know very much about family mediation. However, when it is considered that most of us either have been, are, or soon will be in a relationship with another person where we might have children or shared finances, it is really important to know what options are available to us when our relationship hits difficult times.
In brief, a family mediator is there to help people to reach mutually agreed proposals about issues such as: the future to the relationship and whether there are any steps that need to be taken to end a relationship (e.g. divorce): any financial matters including the future of the family home, pensions, debts, future income and child maintenance; and any children’s issues including their future living arrangements and their educational and health needs.
The knowledge and background of the mediator will affect the amount of legal information that they can share with the parties during the process but, whilst working under the proviso that mediators are neither legal advisers nor financial experts, there is a lot of scope for mediators to help both parties to explore some quite complex legal and financial situations from many different perspectives, including the practical implications of different options, the legal ramifications and also the way that the parties themselves want to approach the issues with reference to their individual feelings about fairness.
With the majority of mediation work taking place with both parties in the same room and with the focus generally being on empowering both parties to anable them to make informed decisions without the stress and expense associated with traditional legal routes, mediation can offer an extremely effective way to resolve disputes and to pre-empt many issues that the parties may not have even thought about before they arise.