Family Mediation and Dispute Resolution Update
OTS Solicitors office can refer you to expert family law mediators across london. We know that the needs of our clients differ and this is why we have a robust team that can serve you in a unique way and if required to refer you for mediation. When you do not want to go to court and you want to resolve your family dispute; we have a dynamic team that can assist you. Family mediation is the ideal channel that frees you from using solicitors or going to court.
Family mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It is a way of settling disputes out of court with the help of a mediator. You and your partner can meet with the mediator for sessions of mediation that usually last between 1 to 2 hours. The number of sessions that you need depends on the nature of your dispute. Family mediation helps couples to reach agreements about their children and their finances. It can be used for other issues that relate to the peace and maintenance of sanity in your world.
The mediator’s role is to be impartial and independent. The mediator is not there to give relationship counselling or legal advice; they will not tell you what to do about your relationship. The mediator creates an environment or acts as a guide that allows you talk honestly and openly about your problems in order to reach an agreement. There are different people who can play the role of a mediator but based on the peculiarity in our world; the solicitor mediators are the best. They bring their legal knowledge and skills to family mediation. Due to the framework of this service, they cannot give you legal advice but they will help you understand the relationship between mediation and the legal process.
The negotiations which take place in family mediation are privileged and confidential. This means that none of the facts that are presented through this channel can be used against you in court proceedings. You are not bound by any agreement reached in mediation until you have taken legal advice on it and the agreement has been drawn up as a court order.
If you have concerns about sitting in the same room with your former partner; it is not a problem as family mediation can take place when the couple are sitting in separate rooms. You can request for the presence of your solicitor although they may not be able to sit in on the negotiations. Your Solicitor can give advice when his expertise is needed especially as it relates to any offers made or agreements reached. Even if your solicitor does not attend the mediation, it is helpful to have a legal expert who can give you advice as and when needed.
If you reach an agreement in mediation the mediator draws up a document which is sent to your solicitor so that your solicitor can give you advice and if appropriate draw up a court order. If you can’t reach an agreement, you can still go to court. Remember, the negotiations which take place in mediation are confidential and cannot be used in any court proceedings. The cost of family mediation is shared equally between you and family mediation is usually quicker, less stressful and cheaper than going to court.
Perhaps you feel that family mediation really isn’t going to work for you and you want to make an application to the court. You will still need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with a mediator to obtain a form FM1. You need this form to make most applications to the court in relation to your marriage or your children.
MIAMs, otherwise known as "Mediation Intake Assessment Meetings", are meetings which now have to take place before many applications in relation to children or finances.
The purpose of a MIAM is to explore different ways of resolving your dispute as it may be that there are alternatives, such as mediation or collaborative law, which may be more suitable and ultimately be more successful, less expensive and less stressful and contentious. Mediation is however not suitable for everyone, especially when there may be concerns about domestic abuse. The purpose of a MIAM is to identify both when options like mediation are suitable or unsuitable depending on your individual case.
A MIAM not only explores mediation and alternatives to litigation, but your mediator will also give you more information about the different processes and other resources which may assist you and your family. MIAMs cannot be undertaken by any solicitor advising you as should a MIAM be successful, and a suitable avenue of dispute resolution for you and your former partner, then the mediator undertaking your MIAM may go on to mediate for you.
If having attended your MIAM it is clear that mediation is not a viable alternative method of dispute resolution for your dispute, then the mediator may sign your Court application form to confirm that you have attended a MIAM.
In some cases, the only way to resolve disputes is via the Court but wherever possible, we firmly believe that mediation is a better option; it is quicker, cheaper, causes less lasting anger and results in a solution agreeable to everyone.
Family Mediation helps find agreed solutions to issues such as:
Who the children will live with and how often will the other parent (or other family members) see them?
The interim financial arrangements while the final settlement is agreed
Can I stay in the home with the children and if so, where will my spouse or partner live?
How much maintenance will I have to pay?
How are we going to deal with our debts?
How will we divide our assets?
What is fair!
We have a rich expertise in serving the interests of our clients. Whether you are an individual looking for mediation, we can refer you on to expert mediators, or if your are looking for Family Solicitors to go to court, you can contact us at OTS Solicitors for more information on 0203 959 9123 or via our contact form.