What to Expect in Divorce Mediation
As of 22 April 2014 it has become compulsory for the applicant, in respect of a private Children Act matter and an outstanding financial dispute, to attend a mediation assessment meeting before they can apply to the court to request an order (MIAM).
In mediation, parties meet with a mediator to work out the details of their divorce settlement, which could include both financial matters and the living arrangements for their children.
However, a mediator will not be able to offer legal advice and make recommendations to the parties about how they should settle their case.
When parties are in mediation they should also take legal advice from a family law solicitor. The role of the mediator and the solicitor are not the same.
Mediators work with couples, and not with each individual spouse. A solicitor, who is focused on you as a client, is going to advise you about the choices you should make in order to resolve your case, they will tell you the facts of your case and the options you have. A solicitor will explain your options with regards to the splitting of the matrimonial assets. A mediator will NOT provide a client with this information because it’s not their job and they must remain neutral.
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It can be a good idea before you start mediation to understand your rights and responsibilities, both individually and as a couple. An initial meeting with a family law solicitor may make mediation more successful.
Once the process of mediation is completed, the mediator prepares a document known as a Memorandum of Understanding.
The memorandum will need to be converted by a solicitor into a consent order and sealed by the court.
At Prentice Family Law we offer an initial free telephone consultation to discuss your case and the best way forward for you, as each case is unique. If you are going through the divorce process and are on amicable terms with the other party, family mediation services can be very helpful. However, it is often a good idea to speak to a specialised family law solicitor in the first instance to ensure you are confident of your rights. Prentice Family Law are members of Resolution, a body of family law solicitors who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.