Mediation is where you and the other party in your dispute agree to work with a neutral third party (the mediator), in an attempt to try and reach some sort of resolution. On occasions, you may have more than one mediator, which would usually be when they have skills that complement each other or are relevant to specialist issue being dealt with. They will both still act as one neutral party, as opposed to each taking one side of the argument.
Why choose mediation?
Mediation might be an appropriate form of Alternative Dispute Resolution if you are keen to avoid going to court. However, if you are already at the court hearing stage, mediation might be used as a way to reduce the among of time spent in court, and reach a settlement before the court gives its decision.
Mediation is usually an appropriate way to resolve Family Law issues if both parties are able to communicate in a civil and relatively open way, and they both have a genuine commitment to resolving whatever problem they are dealing with. It can also be a more amicable way of resolving sensitive issues, which could be important if the parties are going to need to maintain some kind of relationship after the settlement. For example, if they are parents of the same children, it’s likely they’ll be dealing with each other on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.
When might mediation not be appropriate?
If one, or even both of the parties involved are not genuinely committed to working to find a solution to their problem, mediation is unlikely to work. Also, if a decision or injunction from the court is needed, either because an aspect of the law is unclear and the court needs to make a decision on it, or because one of the partners or their property might be at risk because of the actions of the other party, mediation might not be the most appropriate course of action.
If you feel your Family Law issue may be resolved with the help of a mediator, trained solicitors in our Family Solicitors Leeds office will be able to advise you on the best way to start the mediation process.