As many of you will know, from 6 April 2011 the Ministry of Justice proposed that before an application to court was made in relevant family proceedings (and this is not divorce – relevant means an application in relation to money matters or children issues), the person making the application should be referred to a mediator.
Mediators must be authorised to carry out the mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs). The applicant attends an information meeting at which the mediator will give advice about all forms of alternate dispute resolution. This could involve mediation, whereby both parties meet with a trained mediator to see if the three can make any progress with regard to agreeing what is to happen either in relation to financial matters or in relation to the children.
So what does the initial meeting with the mediator consist of? Generally the mediator will try and meet both parties, either separately or together, and explore with them the various options available. Also whether mediation is suitable if there is a risk of either party being influenced by fear of violence or intimidation.
The role of the mediator is of course totally impartial. Mediators do not give legal advice and will refer you back to your solicitor during the mediation process. Usually the cost of the mediation process is shared between the parties, which can be a cost effective alternative.
For more information about mediation, alternative dispute resolution, or any other aspects of divorce or separation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website www.cotswoldfamilylaw.co.uk.