Mediation is a process whereby clients work together to arrive at their own solutions or settlement proposals in relation to children or financial issues via negotiation and discussions facilitated by an impartial mediator. The mediator assists the clients in identifying the issues they need to resolve and finding the most sensible and practical solutions for the family. Mediation itself can take different forms. Below are details about the Resolution Model.
The ‘Resolution’ Model is so-called because it is approved by Resolution, an organisation previously known as the Solicitors’ Family Law Association. This model involves clients in a number of short mediation sessions (1½-2 hours) over a period of time in which they meet together with the mediator. In financial matters, one of the mediator’s tasks is to provide appropriate documentation (Forms E) to assist the clients in providing full and frank financial disclosure. The mediator may also flag up where further financial disclosure or expert reports may assist in the decision-making process. Mediators often recommend when a client may benefit from legal advice within the process, as the mediator’s task is not to advise on legal matters but to gather information from the clients and to give information where appropriate in order to assist them in reaching their solutions. Where children are involved the mediator can assist parents in focusing on their children’s needs and to create a tailor-made joint parenting plan.
At the end of the process the mediator provides the clients with a Memorandum of Understanding, which contains their acceptable proposals for settlement which are then taken to the clients’ respective legal advisors for the legal formalities to be completed and their ‘accord’ converted into a binding and enforceable order. Clients are also provided with an Open Financial Statement of their financial affairs as disclosed within the mediation process.
Mediation has the following advantages-
- Reduces tension and hostility
- Solutions are tailor made by the clients to their needs
- Decisions are made on an informed basis
- Clients are able to communicate and co-operate
- Clients are able to explore and examine options in a safe environment
- Clients are able to appreciate and consider the needs of their children
- Savings in costs as disputes may be resolved more quickly and efficiently