Using a mediator is different to using a lawyer. Separating couples can choose to use a mediator to assist in reaching agreements about their finances or their children.
Family mediation is an excellent way of helping couples resolve disputes that arise as a result of the breakdown of a relationship. Couples meet with a mediator in a safe, supportive and neutral environment, and try and resolve the issues with the mediator acting as a facilitator.
At Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP, we have our own in-house family mediator Ruth Hawkins. As well as being an experienced family lawyer and member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, Ruth has been a qualified family mediator since 2012.
As a mediator Ruth aims to deal with couples in a clear, non-judgemental manner, and assist them to find a way of dealing with the issues that arise upon separation and/or divorce, in a pragmatic and sensible way; looking for solutions, rather than focusing on problems.
We also have close links with other external family mediators, who we can refer our own clients to, or with whom we can arrange to co-mediate, if that is more appropriate.
Important points about mediation:
- It is voluntary;
- It is confidential (subject to anti-money laundering and child protection exceptions);
- It is impartial.
Mediation keeps decision-making in your hands.
A mediator cannot give advice, and will recommend that you take legal advice alongside mediation, certainly at key points in the process.
Advantages to Mediation
- It is often a cheaper and quicker way of resolving family issues;
- It can be a less stressful way of reaching agreement or finding solutions, and one of the key aims is to reduce conflict and improve communication between you for the future;
- It is a simple, yet flexible, process which can be tailored for your specific issues;
- It facilitates direct communication between you, rather than through lawyers, and can reduce longer-term hostility between you;
- It avoids lengthy (or any) correspondence;
- The court’s involvement in your affairs is either minimal or non-existent;
- You solve your problems together in discussion;
- The decisions reached are your own and tailored to your particular circumstances;
- There is an increased likelihood of decisions reached standing the test of time, because you have come up with them yourselves.
- There are many areas that you might choose to mediate about:
- Divorce proceedings or separation
- Financial issues
- Arrangements about where the children should live, how often they should see each parent / grandparent etc.
- Communication issues
The list above is not exhaustive and there may be other areas that are suited to being discussed and dealt with in mediation. Mediation can help couples at any time, whether before or after separation, and regardless of whether legal proceedings have begun.
Please contact Ruth Hawkins to discuss our mediation service.
Ruth is accredited for Help and Support for Separated Families, which means that she believes in helping her clients focus on the needs of their children and to reduce the amount of parental conflict that can exist at the time of separation. Find out more here.