The new BBC documentary Mr versus Mrs: Call the Mediator will premier this evening on BBC2 at 9.00pm. It’s a behind the scenes look at the world of family mediation, following several couples and their mediators through the process. 17,000 mediations are now carried out in the UK each year and according to National Family Mediation the success rate for couples is nearly 90%, so it’s no wonder the subject has caught the attention of the BBC.
So what is mediation? Mediation is a process during which the couple in dispute will meet jointly with a mediator who will assist them in identifying those issues they can’t agree on and help them try to reach agreement. Mediators are neutral and they will not take sides. Family mediators are also normally qualified family lawyers but they cannot give advice. They will usually recommend that couple obtain legal advice independently alongside the mediation process, and they use solicitors to take the appropriate steps to make the agreement they reach in mediation legally binding.
I really hope the programme shows the process in the positive light it should. Mediation is often the quickest and most cost effective way for couples to resolve any disputes which arise on the breakdown of their relationship, and in most circumstances I advise my client’s to consider using the process in the first instance. The beauty of mediation is that it can deal with any number of issues, from the arrangements for children going forward to how financial issues are to be dealt with. Its flexibility also means that couples can discuss and reach agreement on issues which a court cannot normally consider. I am a firm believer that the process helps those separating minimise the conflict in their relationship going forward, and assists them in beginning to re-open channels of communication which inevitably will have been damaged in the emotional fallout from the breakdown of the relationship. This is particularly so where children are involved as the mediation process is far more conducive to a positive co-parenting relationship than battling things out in court.
At Morrisons Solicitors we have three experienced family mediators who are also specialist family lawyers. We are also able provide legal advice throughout the process and assist with formalising any agreements reached during it. If you would like to hear more about our mediation services or would like some advice on a settlement agreed during mediation please call 01737 854 500 and ask to speak to a member of the family team.
And if you can’t wait until this evening here is a sneak peak!