family law

Family Law Mediation

– what you need to know

 

Family mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which helps you reach decisions about things that are important for you and your family, without having to go through the court process.

The Benefits of Mediation

Mediation gives you the opportunity to take your time and think about the issues that are important to you, whether it be arrangements for your children as they grow up, how to deal with money within the marriage or options of where you will live. The process moves at your pace, which ensures you can carefully consider each issue rather than rushing through it.

Mediators will listen to you to find out what is important to you, and help you make your own choices about how to move forward. Once you and your partner are satisfied with the decisions you have made, you can then instruct a solicitor to complete the legal formalities.

You can also consult your own solicitor during the mediation process, to check that the choices being taken are in your best interests.

Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)

Mediation has become a more central part of family law since the changes in law which now require you to attend a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before issuing an application to commence financial proceedings or proceedings under the Children Act. This assessment meeting gives you the opportunity to see how mediation works, and allows the mediator to work out with you whether mediation will be suitable for you and your family. The mediator should discuss how many sessions you may need, how much they cost and whether you are eligible for legal aid to pay for mediation.

In most circumstances, whomever is applying to the court for a financial order or a child arrangements order will have to attend a MIAM. The other person involved is also expected to attend, but they do not have to go to the same meeting as you. There are exemptions, particularly if domestic violence has arisen within the relationship.

If everyone agrees at the first appointment that mediation would work well, you will book further mediation sessions. It normally takes between three and five meetings to come to an agreement, depending on the issues in question.

Mediating with Children

Older children are now also becoming part of the mediation process, if mediation is about child arrangements. If the mediator you have chosen is happy to do so, they can talk to the children of the family about what they would like to happen, so that the parents can make decisions which take into account their children’s wishes as well as their own.

 

Alison Bicknell


This blogpost is for information purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice because it does not consider or take into account your own personal circumstances. If in doubt, seek legal advice.

Preparing for Divorce

As of April 2013, almost all legal aid funding for family law cases came to an end, with the majority of families unable to afford any legal representation.

The courts are already faced with unrepresented baffled litigants acting in person, which, in itself, causes delays and expense to the judicial system because the court has to spend time explaining legal procedures to litigants acting in person.

Lawyers who know the law can offer specific advice and recommend legal actions that are tailor-made and appropriate for each individual case, however to help the reader.

A divorce is never an easy process to go through. With emotions high, finances at stake and, if children are involved, their custody up in the air, it is understandable that finding agreeable ground is not always an easy process.

If you have or are contemplating filing for a divorce from your partner, it is always good to know what to expect throughout the procedure and what things you may be able to prepare for. Whilst there is no guarantee of a smooth and problem-free process, it is important to understand the consequences and consider every possibility before acquiring a divorce.

Whilst there is no such thing as a ‘simple divorce’, acquiring the services of a good lawyer will ensure that your divorce is carried out fairly and in consensus with all parties involved. Ensure you acquire the services of an established divorce specialist lawyer, as their experience and expertise will help to guide and advise you throughout the process.

What many people are unsure of is what a divorce will actually involve. Amid tales of costly, argumentative and outrageous disagreements, the process itself is far less intimidating and constructive results can be achieved responsively.

What many people want is a quick and resolved resolution, you might not be aware that there are different ways to get divorced.

Mediation and Collaborative Family Law both aim to give the divorcing couple more control and more of a say in what happens. They’re not soft options, but there’s been lots of positive feedback about the fact that these approaches can be less damaging emotionally (and sometimes less expensive) than the traditional route to divorce.

Here is a basic guide on what you can do to help prepare for the divorce process.

1 Gather Financial Information:

If you are able to organise your finances before the divorce is underway, you can begin to gain control over the financial expectancy of the divorce. Obtaining a divorce is not cheap and the longer the procedure goes on, the more legal costs can begin to add up.

Outline any debts you owe and make sure you have invoices and receipts of purchases and bills as well any account information. It may be worth closing or freezing any joint accounts, in order to prevent your spouse from using the account as well as running up charges that you may be held responsible for. This will protect both parties involved.

2 Don’t Move Out:

This may go through your thoughts and unless there is a form of abuse, by moving out you could inadvertently affect the outcome of your divorce.

By moving out, you could affect the interest that you have in property. It is important to remain strong and should you have no alternative but to move out, continue to pay a portion of your mortgage payment and document your contributions. This can affect a decision on property distribution as well as child custody.

3 Children Are Always The First Priority:

It is important to remember this at every stage of your divorce. Remain on your best behaviour as a divorce can often mean being put under a microscope. Ensure you do nothing to affect the outcome and don’t provide your spouse with ammunition.

A divorce can be a stressful process for all involved, and none so more so than for the children involved. Consider their needs at all times and ensure that their requirements are met. Don’t stop being a parent!

This article was contributed by Camilla Choudhury – Khawaja.


This blogpost is for information purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice because it does not consider or take into account your own personal circumstances. If in doubt, seek legal advice.