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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is mediation?

Mediation is a process which involves a safe and confidential environment in an informal setting. Participation is voluntary by everyone.

The mediators are professionally qualified and required to adhere to the Family Mediators' Association code of practice.

2. What is the role of the mediator?

The mediator remains impartial and assists the participants to identify, explore and communicate all relevant issues in a fair and balanced way. The mediator is trained to manage the process effectively towards decision making and to prepare documentation which may assist you to achieve a legally binding agreement.

3. Can a mediator give us legal advice?

No. A mediator can provide information to assist you in obtaining relevant advice. However, they will never provide advice.

4. Is a mediator the same as a counsellor?

No, although we are conscious of the psychological needs of the participants and are able to provide contact details of local counsellors should they require us to.

5. Are we going to be expected to try to reconcile?

We do not have any set expectations of participants other than to be committed to finding solutions. We have an ethical duty to explore with participants whether reconciliation is possible, and if they feel it is, then we would advise them to seek counselling as at that stage mediation is not usually appropriate.

6. Will a mediator be instead of a lawyer?

No. It is important that participants consider the benefits of receiving legal advice particularly at the stage of mediation where the decisions made by the participants are being formalised. However, the decision whether to instruct a lawyer is each individual participant's choice.

7. What if my partner won't come to mediation?

We can only set out the possible benefits of mediation to you and your partner. Mediation is a voluntary process for all concerned, requiring commitment on everyone's behalf. If your partner decides not to attend then mediation would not be possible. Instead, we would suggest that you take legal advice.

8. What if I am afraid of my partner?

We always check for concerns for violence or intimidation. This begins with the first separate assessment meeting. If required, we can see you both separately throughout mediation, although if there has been a history of domestic violence mediation is not usually appropriate as all participants must feel safe and be allowed to make their own decisions without fear.

9. What if my partner changes their mind about the decisions we make?

At the end of mediation the mediator puts any decisions made into a formal document that if both participants agree, may be taken to a solicitor and used to make decisions legally binding in court.

10. Do I have to tell the mediator all my private financial details?

Where the issues to be resolved include any property or finance there must be full and frankdisclosure of all of both your assets and liabilities on a worldwide basis. This is a requirement that would certainly be necessary if any decisions were to be made legally binding in the future. Disclosure of finance and property during the process of mediation will not need to be repeated in any subsequent legal proceedings and accordingly there will be no duplication of time or costs in this regard.

11. Is mediation cheaper than going to a solicitor?

Inevitably mediation will save costs. The reason for this is because the process is quicker and it is you that will be finding out the information (e.g. financial) which you will then share in the mediation sessions. Whilst we recommend that legal advice should still be obtained, from time to time, throughout the process of mediation, any such advice is likely to be far less than it would have been without the mediation process. In addition and most significantly, since mediation is aimed at achieving agreement, ultimately a contested and often long drawn out court hearing would be avoided, which in itself is costly both emotionally and financially.