The Family Mediators Association defines mediation as “A process in which an impartial third person assists those involved in family breakdown, and in particular, separating or divorcing couples, to communicate better with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions. “
It is understandable that when parties are separating, or contemplating separating they think their first call should be to a family solicitor. Mediation can offer parties a real alternative. Most people have the ability and the desire to want to resolve problems within their relationships themselves with minimal outside help. Mediation is a powerful tool to create an environment to assist with this. Throughout the mediation process parties are encouraged to find their own solutions within a safe and constructive environment, with the assistance of a family mediator.
The Key Principles
What are the benefits?
• Self-determination - you are in control of what is discussed and you decide the pace upon which negotiations are progressed. It allows you to find and explore creative solutions for resolving complex issues.
• Child focused – your children remain at the centre of discussions enabling you to find solutions which are right for you as a family.
• Lower costs and potential conflict – away from the adversarial court system, you do not have the costs and animosity often associated with more traditional methods of concluding financial or children issues.
• Communication – people choose family mediation because they wish to foster or continue at least civil relations for the sake of the well being of the children.
• Speed - the time it takes to reach a clear set of proposals is always much shorter than if proceedings were issued at court.
How does Mediation Work?
Mediation is more of an art than a science, but both parties sit down together, usually around a table, and a mediator facilitates a discussion around the issues that the parties wish to resolve; thereafter the mediator will work with the parties to explore the options available and to assist in enabling the parties to find the solution which is right for them.
The mediator is a neutral party, who will not pass judgement or take sides. The mediator is not the parties’ legal advisor and will not give any legal advice. Mediators can however give legal information and give the parties an overview of what the court guidelines are. A mediator will not make decisions for the parties, but will assist and enable the parties to make decisions which are right for them and the family.
Once parties have been able to reach a resolution the mediator will provide the parties with a summary of what was discussed and the proposals reached. The parties are then encouraged to seek legal advice and the summary incorporated into a binding document or order of the court.
Eileen Sutton is a solicitor, collaborative lawyer and an all issues family mediator. She can truly provide a bespoke service which is right for you and your family.
Eileen is a committed member of Resolution and is an accredited specialist with portfolios in Advanced Financial Provision and Children Law. She has also received accredited status with the Law Society and is a member of the Family Law Advanced Panel.
Eileen is acutely aware of the importance of keeping the needs of the children at the centre of any discussion. She is said to bring a natural warmth to her role as a mediator and is dedicated to bringing about successful outcomes for families.
If you think mediation could be the right path for you or you have any queries please call Eileen Sutton.
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