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Many separating couples would like to come to an agreement themselves about the practical issues that arise when a relationship ends, particularly in relation to their children or financial arrangements. When a relationship ends it can be very difficult to talk constructively about arrangements for children on separation or money directly.
What is involved?
Family mediation is an alternative process which helps couples resolve issues in relation to children, finances or both upon separation. Mediation is a voluntary process involving you and your former partner meeting together with an impartial mediator to talk to each other and make decisions about the future. Mediation is not to be confused with conciliation or relationship counselling. The process is focused on the future, with the aim being to come to an agreement that enables you both to move forward separately in the most constructive way for you and your family.
Your mediator will help identify the issues you need to resolve, gather information, explore different options and help you identify common ground. The mediator will facilitate the discussion to ensure that discussions are even-handed. The process enables you to retain power over the decision making, rather than handing this over to a judge. Mediation can often allow both parties to improve communication with one another and deal with strong emotions in a controlled forum. This is particularly helpful where there will be an on-going parenting relationship.
One of the key features of mediation is that the process is completely confidential. The discussions that take place in mediation are also legally privileged and ‘without prejudice’. This means that if you are unable to reach agreement in mediation, neither of you will be able to rely on what you’ve discussed in any court proceedings that follow. This gives you the freedom of different options for the future and encourages participants to freely and frankly put their cards on the table.
The information that couples provide in relation to their financial resources (disclosure) is not covered by legal privilege. This is to ensure that both parties give an open and frank account of their financial circumstances.
Why we are different?
One of the advantages of family mediation with Chapman Pieri is that your mediator will also be an experienced family solicitor. Although not within the court structure, mediation does operate within the framework of the law. Your mediator will not be able to act as a legal adviser to either of the parties individually, but can provide information in an even-handed and neutral way about law, finance and children. This can help reduce the time and cost each of you spends with your own solicitor during the process although you are each advised to take legal advice before your agreement is finalised.