We’ve all been there. When emotions are high, it can be difficult to reach agreements that are mutually beneficial. And that is where meditation can step in. In this article, we will explore the benefits of mediation, specifically as it applies to UK family law.
What is Mediation?
Mediation, also known as mediation, is the process of hiring a mediator or mediators to work with the family as they sort through disputes. Mediation is an alternative to long court battles, which are often traumatic for all involved, very expensive, and damaging to the co-parenting relationship. However, when families mediate, they have lower costs and better outcomes, which benefits both partners and any children they have.
What is the Process of Mediation?
In the UK, mediation goes through a process starting with choosing a mediation firm and having a mediator assigned to their case. One thing that should be pointed out is that children can be involved in the mediation process through a method called child inclusive mediation, which allows children the chance to voice their own wants and needs.
Once the mediator is selected, the process of mediation begins. This usually follows a pretty standard series of steps, including:
- Step One: First call. This can be one call or a series between the mediator and each partner. During the call, the mediation process is explained and present concerns are documented, although there is no in-depth consultation at this point.
- Step Two: Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. Also known as MIAM, this meeting is between the mediator with to discuss the history of the family, the divorce or separation and for the mediator to go into more detail about the mediation process. This meeting is done on an individual basis and is completely confidential. What one parent shares is never shared with the other parent and vice versa.
- Step Three: Joint Meetings: This starts with the first joint meeting where they sign the Agreement to Mediate form and then discuss pressing issues that need to be dealt with quickly. Once that is set, an agenda is created. After the initial meeting, there will be additional joint meetings to review and set child custody, financials and other issues that are raised.
Mediation is not a quick process and depending on the scope of the agreement that needs to be made, it can mean many meetings until everything is properly ironed out.
How do Mediators Help?
Mediators can help you work through communication blocks but there are three documents that they can help set in place.
- A parenting plan that goes over the arrangements for the children, who they will live with, visitation and the overall day-to-day care of the children/
- Open financial statements will lay out the financial information of both parents in an open manner so it can be easier to discuss child support and shared expenses for the children.
- Memorandum of understanding is a document that records discussion and decisions made.
This are all important documents that will ensure a smooth transition to co-parenting.
Who Pays for Mediation
With mediation, both partners would split the cost of mediation between them. This can be split evenly or partners could agree for one parent to pay more than the other depending on how finances were divided after the split (if finances, including shared wealth, hasn’t been split yet, it could be based on who is earning more).
One thing to mention is that mediation is not free; however, the UK has a program where families can get up to £500 to apply to the cost of mediation. This is called the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme that you can apply for, although it is not available to everyone.
3 Benefits of Meditation
Now that we have an understanding of what is involved with mediation, especially in the UK, let’s look at some of the benefits families will experience during the process of separation and divorce. These benefits will not only create solid agreements, but will allow you and your ex partner to build a solid co-parenting plan and relationship.
Benefit of Mediation Number One: Opens Communication
The biggest benefit of mediation in the UK is that mediators serve the function of opening up communication. Court hearings can create tensions that often shut down communication; however, a mediator is less formal and offers less tension.
Mediators have a key role to play in facilitating dialogue between both parents. When there are communication blocks, a mediator can make suggestions, encourage outcomes and keep communication flowing.
In addition to communication, studies have shown that when mediation is used to make a decision for co-parenting, that decision is more likely to be beneficial for all parties involved and parents are more likely to adhere to those decisions.
Benefit of Mediation Number Two: Mediation is Private
Another benefit that parents often don’t think about is that mediation is private. Unlike court proceedings, mediation can assist in your relationship being out in the public eye. In addition, many of the agreements that you make during mediation is protected by privacy laws, which means that they cannot be presented to the court in the event that mediation fails.
This privacy is important as it aids in encouraging both parties to be open and honest about all aspects of their marriage, the breakdown, the process that got them to mediation and their goals for co-parenting.
Benefit of Mediation Number Three: Cost
Finally, the third benefit for mediation is that it is relatively cheap when you compare it to the costs of going to court over these disputes. Mediators make the process quick, they adhere to agendas and set a maximum number of sessions that you will have. This enables both partners to stay on task and to have control over the process, which they wouldn’t have if they were going to court.
It is important to reiterate that mediation is not free; however, if it works smoothly, it can save a lot of time and money for both parties involved.
Finding the best mediators is particularly important for this process to go smoothly; however, when you have excellent mediators, you will find that you are protected, your kids are taken care of, and you can focus completely on moving forward to a new relationship as co-parents. And that, in the end, is the greatest benefit of all with mediation to resolve co-parenting disputes.