Mediation is an environment and opportunity for you and your family member to communicate constructively together, trying to find a solution that is acceptable to both of you.
As any family law solicitor will tell you, going to court should be your last option. It can be expensive, take a long time and it can be stressful. Of course it can be hard to discuss matters trying to look to the future when all is falling apart around you but mediation can offer a space and time for you to communicate directly to each other, without misunderstanding. We want to provide an environment where you are supported to make your own decisions instead of having them made for you.
No; a mediator can give you information but not advice. You can see your solicitor in between each mediation session if you want, some people find that helpful. A mediator won't be able to make a decision for you or tell you what to do. An Arbitrator or the court can make decisions. If you want, you can agree at the start of mediation that any unresolved issues at the end of the process will be turned over to an arbitrator, who will make a final decision for you.
It can be quick and cost effective – you have a say in the process and the areas you want to discuss. The discussions can take place at a location and time suitable for you both. You can say how many mediation sessions you want.
It is confidential – nothing that is discussed in mediation can be referred to in court proceedings so you can speak freely.
It can improve communication between you and your partner – direct and open communication can help to clear up misunderstandings, explain points of view and help with moving forward.
It allows you to resolve the dispute or narrow the areas of dispute – if you reach a solution that both of you can live with; it has more chance of succeeding.
Mediation provides a space and supports you both to work together to reach your own solution. If you can't reach an agreement, then you would need an arbitrator or a court to decide for you. An arbitrator will make a decision for you, and that decision is legally binding.