Mediation is a means of talking with your partner in the presence of a mediator, an independent professional. It is not counselling or marriage guidance which is more emotion/relationship based, but focuses on resolving disputes regarding your children, home, finances or any outstanding legal practicalities that are preventing you from moving forward. It is usually considered a good way of making just and fair agreements once a relationship has broken down.
Mediation is one of the ways in which you can avoid the divorce court process, and for that reason can reduce the stress, time and money that can be expended during lengthy divorce cases.
Mediation is often seen as a flexible way of settling disputes where you work out compromises to leave with a sensible and workable arrangement that you can both live with.
By focusing on practical arrangements rather than emotions and blaming each other for relationship faults, misunderstandings and anger can be reduced and communication can be improved. This is why mediation is seen as a great step forward if you have children, as in the long term you will have to communicate over their welfare for many years to come.
Mediation can be used at any stage during your divorce or relationship separation negotiations, but is not suitable for those in which domestic violence has been an issue, in which case a lawyer should be consulted for information.
Mediators can give general law information but they cannot give you personal advice, so talking to your divorce lawyer before and after your mediation sessions to get clarifications on where you stand, can really help you to feel more in control of the situation.
Because mediation takes place in a more informal setting, people feel more comfortable, and able to be heard on equal terms as their partner with the help of the mediator. The mediator is not there to make decisions for you, but to keep you and your partner on track in terms of the solutions that you are able to come up with.
By sorting out some of their differences through mediation rather than through the formality of solicitors letters you can often reduce legal costs and the process may take weeks to months rather than years when going through the divorce courts.
If you come to an agreement after discussions between yourselves via mediation you are more likely to be able to stick to it, especially where children are concerned, especially when it has been drawn up by your solicitors.
So, if mediation is suitable for you, it is definitely a way of getting a settlement that is fair and workable for both of you.