The Mediation process – what to expect
Although it is a gentler process than the courtroom, Mediation is not an easy option
If you both decide after your MIAM meeting that you would like to go ahead with Mediation, and if your situation is suitable, then we can begin.
During the MIAM you will have decided, together with the mediator, whether you wish to have joint mediation (where you and your ex-partner are in the same room with the mediator) or whether you would prefer to be in separate rooms (this is known as ‘shuttle mediation’).
An average mediation session lasts around 90 minutes. The number of sessions will depend on the complexity of your situation but generally couples find that three to four meetings are sufficient where they are dealing with financial and child related matters. For child contact issues only, two sessions are usually sufficient.
If agreement is reached on some or all of the issues discussed in Mediation, a Memorandum of Understanding will be written up by the mediator so that each party has a record of what has been agreed. To make any agreement legally binding, the agreement needs to be put before the Court in the form of a Consent Order.
Although it is a gentler process than the courtroom, Mediation is not an easy option. You must set the agenda for discussion and you must make the decisions. The mediator will not tell you what to do. You will be making decisions about the most important aspects of your lives and inevitably the process is an emotional one. However, the vast majority of people welcome the chance to discuss their issues in a safe environment with an impartial, independent mediator who will guide the process and who works to help both parties come to an agreement that is mutually satisfactory.
|Appointment within 5 working days||Whole process takes months and often more than a year|
|Your agenda||Agenda set|
|Your agreement||Court imposed|
|Conflict minimised||Adversarial system – escalates conflict|
|Focus on fair outcome to both||‘Winners’ and ‘losers’|