Article written by Atifha Aftab, Solicitor, Family department
Family Mediation Week runs from 16-20 January 2023. This is a campaign organised by the Family Mediation Council to raise awareness of family mediation and of the benefits it can bring to separating families.
Mediation has many advantages over going to court that includes being faster, cheaper, and allowing the parties to remain in control and resolve important issues with dignity and respect. This article explores these benefits and how mediation might work for you and your family.
What is family mediation?
Family mediation is a process in which an impartial third-party mediator helps separating couples resolve disputes and make lasting arrangements for the future of them and their family, without going to court.
Benefits of family mediation to resolve disputes
Overall, using family mediation to resolve issues has several advantages over going to court, and is well worth considering. These include:
A faster resolution
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that it allows for a faster resolution than the traditional court process. This is because mediation is a voluntary process, with no set court timetable or deadlines to adhere to. This means the parties involved can work at their own pace and resolve their dispute as quickly or as slowly as they need. This flexibility is especially useful if the parties involved cannot meet at the same time or place, as mediation can usually take place over the phone or online.
Another advantage of mediation is that it is much cheaper than going to court. This is partly due to no court fees being paid, and there are no legal expenses to be incurred. Mediation can also be a much quicker process than going to trial, which means the costs associated with the process are lower. Additionally, mediation can take place anywhere convenient for the parties involved, meaning travel costs are also reduced.
The parties involved in mediation also have much more control over the process than they would in a courtroom. This means they can tailor the process to suit their needs rather than adhere to court rules or procedures. For instance, the parties can decide to have their mediator present for the duration of the process or to have both parties present for the entire process. This is not possible in a court process, where the Judge makes the decisions.
Finally, and potentially most importantantly, family mediation has the added benefit of preserving relationships between the parties involved. This is because it is a non-adversarial process, allowing the parties to come together to find a solution that works for both. This is not possible in a courtroom, where the parties are usually pitted against each other, and the Judge would determine the outcome.