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Does Mediation Work?...

Changes introduced by the Children’s and Families Act 2014 have been in force since mid-April 2014.  One such change has seen the introduction of compulsory attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) for couples who are looking to begin Court proceedings in relation to their children or their finances.  The purpose of a MIAM is to inform a couple who are struggling to communicate,  about mediation as a process that can help resolve disputes and difficulties without the need to apply and for the mediator to assess whether the parties and their situation is suitable for mediation.

However, recently the Ministry of Justice have published figures which indicate that during 2014/15 only one in 20 applications for financial or children proceedings had explored the mediation route. Numbers have since increased but not dramatically.

Pros of exploring Mediation:

  • Mediators are experienced in conflict resolution
  • Mediators are totally impartial facilitators
  • Whilst both parties have to be open to the idea of attending sessions they do not need to be seen at the same time
  • Mediation allows couples to reach their own agreements
  • It can be a more cost effective option
  • It allows both parents to be involved in making decisions for their children

Cons of Mediation:

  • Whilst it is compulsory there are circumstances where Mediation is not appropriate i.e. if there has been domestic violence
  • Some people may not wish to wait to undertake the mediation process and would instead prefer to head straight to court
  • Both parties have to agree to attend and if one doesn’t it cannot happen
  • Mediation will only work if both parties feel it is the right route for them to take
  • Mediation is limited in the issues that it can cover
  • There is the possibility that a mediator may refer clients to seek legal advice anyway
  • Agreements made during Mediation are not legally binding

If you would like to get in touch with James Haworth of the Lawson-West Family team who can be contacted on 0116 212 1000. 

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