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How Family Mediation can help Resolve Family Disputes

View profile for Shelley Wales
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At Thornton Jones Solicitors, we understand that navigating through family disputes can be challenging. In this blog we explore the effectiveness of mediation – a game-changer when it comes to resolving conflicts and fostering positive outcomes for everyone involved.

When separating or divorcing there is often tension between the couple as they embark on a journey to agree the settlement of matters such as where the children will live, how often the children will visit the other parent, what happens to the house, the savings, any debts, and any future payments (often referred to as spousal maintenance). This can be an emotional, stressful, time-consuming, and expensive time. This is where mediation can really help in allowing the couple to work through each matter in a calm, structured, and non-confrontational way.

Does Mediation Actually Work?

Absolutely, yes! Mediation is not just a process; it's an empowering alternative for those seeking resolution without the prolonged battles, stress, and hefty legal costs often associated with traditional methods. Here's how mediation can work wonders for you and your family:

  • Empowering Decision-Making: Mediation offers you greater control over decisions regarding children and finances, allowing you to shape a tailor-made solution that aligns with your values and priorities.
     
  • Improved Communication: A skilled Family Mediator facilitates open communication in a safe environment. Better communication not only aids the resolution process but also sets the stage for smoother co-parenting in the future.
     
  • Reduced Stress for Children: Studies indicate that children cope better with parental separation when parents can agree on matters amicably. Mediation provides a platform for such agreement, promoting a healthier environment for your children.
     
  • Cost-Effective and Efficient: Mediation tends to be a more cost-effective and quicker method compared to traditional legal proceedings. The mediator's role is to guide discussions, empowering you to make informed decisions with minimal legal involvement.

Understanding the Mediation Process: What is Mediation and How Does it Work?

  • Is Mediation Legally Binding? No, mediation itself is not legally binding. However, it provides a confidential space for open dialogue. If you wish to formalise the outcome, consulting a lawyer post-mediation is advisable.
     
  • Is Mediation Confidential? Yes, with some exceptions. Child abuse allegations prompt immediate termination of mediation. Additionally, financial disclosures are not protected by confidentiality rules.
     
  • Will the Mediator Speak to the Child/Children? Possibly. While it's not common,  Child Inclusive Mediation  can be beneficial in some cases. CIM allows children to express their thoughts confidentially, ensuring their voices are heard without pressure.
     
  • What's the Cheapest Way to Resolve Disputes? Mediation tends to be the most cost-effective method. The mediator's fee is split between parties, reducing legal involvement and associated costs.
     
  • Can I Get Legal Aid for Mediation? While legal aid in family proceedings is limited, you may still be eligible for mediation-related Legal Aid  if you're on a low income. Not all mediators offer legal aid, so clarify your needs at the outset.
     
  • Do I Have to Go to Mediation? Mediation is voluntary, but if court intervention is a consideration, attending a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is mandatory.
     
  • What if I Lack Financial Understanding? The mediator helps you understand the financial landscape, ensuring a fair and informed decision-making process.
     
  • Can I Seek Mediation After Court Proceedings Begin? Yes, mediation is still an option. Statistics show that agreements reached through mediation are more likely to be complied with compared to court-imposed orders.
     
  • Will the Mediator Encourage Reconciliation? No, the focus is on moving forward. If reconciliation is considered, the mediator will guide you to relevant organisations.
     
  • Do I Need a Lawyer Before Mediation? No, the mediator provides information to help formulate proposals. Legal advice can be sought separately, ensuring a well-rounded approach to conflict resolution.
     
  • How Long Does Mediation Take? It varies based on the case and parties' availability. Typically, mediation concludes within a few months, with sessions lasting 1.5 to 2 hours.

At Thornton Jones, we believe in the power of mediation to transform conflicts into opportunities for growth and understanding. If you have more questions or are considering mediation, contact us to explore your options. Let's work together to unlock harmony in your family's journey forward!

If you would like advice regarding separation, divorce,  finances, or children’s matters, please contact one of our offices to arrange an appointment.

☎️ Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
☎️ Call our Garforth office on 0113 246 4423
☎️ Call our Sherburn in Elmet office on 01977 350 500
☎️ Call our Mapplewell office on 01226 339 009
☎️ Call our Ossett office on 01924 586 466


About the Author

Shelley qualified as a solicitor in 2001 with Atteys solicitors in Doncaster. She then moved to Hellewell Pasley & Brewer in Birstall in 2005, Williscroft & Co in Bradford until 2008 and then moved to Ramsdens solicitors where she spent the next 10 years honing her skills in family law!

Shelley moved to join us here at Thornton Jones in September 2018 to further enhance our Family Law team. 

Shelley is a qualified Family Mediator and is working towards full accreditation. She specialises in dealing with the financial aspects of divorce and separation, and has a real interest in unravelling the finances of unmarried couples through the Trusts of Land and Trustees Act 1996.

Shelley's manner is warm and friendly and very approachable.  Shelley always takes a practical and sensible approach to all her cases but can also be a tough litigant when needed.

Outside of work, Shelley enjoys nothing more than sharing a night out with friends, including pub quizzes, book clubs and theatre, and especially enjoys a day out shopping with her teenage daughter,  When she is not doing this she and her husband spend time supporting their son with his football (aka being taxi drivers!).

Shelley is a member of Resolution and is committed to resolving family disputes in a non confrontational way wherever possible..


The content of this blog post is for information only and does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited accepts no liability for any such reliance upon this content. Where the post includes links to external websites, Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited accepts no responsibility for the content of such sites. Any link to a third party website should not be construed as endorsement by Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited of any content, products or services which are outside our direct control