The requirement to attend a meeting with a Family Mediator has been seen by many as an obstacle, put in the way of being able to make an immediate application to the Court to resolve disputes in relation to their children or the financial arrangements following separation from their spouse or cohabitee. Frustration is caused because the law requires Applicants to consider alternative ways of resolving their disputes and to treat the Court as a method of last resort. There are limited exemptions from this requirement which do not apply to most cases. Is it really a hindrance when you consider the following facts?
Why should Court be a last resort?
There are many reasons why an application to the Court should be avoided: –
- First, and probably most importantly, there are usually no winners, except, perhaps, your lawyers who will benefit from the costs they charge to represent you.
- Comments are made by each of the parties in Court which cause anger and upset which cannot then be retracted and may cause ongoing difficulties long after the final hearing has ended.
- You cannot control the outcome. That is a decision for a Judge who only has limited information provided during the hearing.
- It is highly unlikely that you will achieve exactly what you want; this may leave you feeling aggrieved and despondent.
- The Courts are overloaded with cases like yours. With austerity measures there are fewer Courts and fewer Judges to deal with them. This can lead to lengthy delays in hearings taking place.
So, what are the benefits of Mediation?
The benefits of mediation are: –
- It allows you to:
- Talk confidentially, in a safe space, with neutral and impartial support from a trained Family Mediator.
- Be listened to and able to express your feelings, perhaps for the first time. Communicating effectively and respectfully with each other will increase the possibility of resolving disputes and in turn may enable future disagreements to be quickly resolved without the need for further mediation.
- Consider many options and to find an outcome which will work for you both and for your children. You decide your future not a Judge who is a stranger to you.
- Show your children that you can reach agreements in relation to them without falling out. This will help your children to feel they can move freely between you and enjoy time with each of you without fear that the other will be unhappy about them doing so.
- It is fast and effective enabling you to move on from the conflict quickly
- It is cheaper than a contested application to the Court
If you would like further information about mediation and how it can help you, please call our Family Mediator, Angela O’Neill, on 01229 583291