Mediation is a term often used but there is still some uncertainty around what it is and why it can be beneficial in the divorce process? Traditionally divorce settlements were resolved by a couple attending separate solicitors, going back and forth to ‘win’ the most from the divorce before eventually ending up in court for an impartial judge to make the decision for you.
But this method created unhappy clients who just wanted to move on with their lives and do it fairly. Hence why in April 1999, the Government made couples legally obliged to attempt to resolve their cases through mediation. However, today mediation is still not being used to its full potential.
What is mediation?
Mediation encourages conversation and gives you the opportunity to discuss together with an impartial moderator the aspects of your divorce that you need to resolve – such as children arrangements and financial settlements. The mediator is completely impartial and the conversations are non-binding. Once you have made a decision this then goes back to your legal representative to make legally binding – saving you from costly litigations and court costs.
But to use mediation effectively – saving you money and helping solve issues – the key is to start mediation at the very beginning of the divorce process. This gives you the ability to agree on settlements before starting lengthy and potentially costly legal engagements. Depending on your reasons for divorce; mediation can become more difficult as you do need the ability to be in the same room to negotiate and discuss all relevant elements of your divorce.
The difference between mediation and negotiation
It may seem that mediation and divorce negotiation are one of the same thing – but this is not the case. The biggest difference is that mediators are focussed on opening up dialogue between parties but are detached from organising settlements. However, divorce negotiators use their mediation skills to assist in dialogue and help parties come to an agreeable settlement allowing both parties to move forwards with the divorce process.
Divorce negotiators continue to work with both parties throughout the entire divorce – cutting out the cost of another legal representative. They have the ability to help you come to settlements quicker – allowing you both to move on with your lives quicker and with mediation importantly used at the start of the process – this gives you a fairer outcome once your divorce is finalised.
Divorce can be one of the most daunting, upsetting and difficult situations you encounter in your life so it is important to use a process and company that allows you to both take control of what suits your circumstances and allows you to move on with your lives once this is this complete.