Very few divorces are easy, but they don’t have to be acrimonious or ugly. In this article, we’ll look at the ways in which family mediation can be a good option for divorce proceedings.
Divorce can be a painful, stressful, drawn-out process – but it doesn’t have to be. When embarking on a divorce, family mediators can really help to keep things on track and prevent unnecessary trauma for everybody involved.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the ways in which family mediation may be a good option during your divorce proceedings.
What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation is designed to stop a divorce from becoming more acrimonious than it needs to be. This involves hiring a professionally trained mediator to act as an impartial third party to help the divorcing couple to come to an agreement regarding the terms of their divorce.
Why Hire a Family Mediator?
There are some very good reasons for hiring a family mediator during your divorce, and we’ll examine some of these in this section:
For the separating couple, hashing out the terms of a divorce can quickly lead to arguments as they work to figure out the division of assets, living arrangements and child custody. As well as adding a significant amount of stress to a divorce, constant arguing and failing to come to an agreement can make the divorce take longer, thereby prolonging the agony and costing more in legal fees.
A family mediator can help by making sure that both parties have a chance to state their case, as well as offering possible solutions when it comes to the division of assets, such as property, cars and cash.
Better for Children
If the divorcing couple are parents, a divorce can be an extremely traumatic experience for the children. Often, they will feel pressure to ‘choose’ between their parents in terms of where they will live, which can cause a great deal of anxiety. If, on top of this, the couple is fighting over custody of the children, the stress can be unbearable and can, in some cases, lead to mental health issues.
A family mediator can help to minimise the damage caused to children by a divorce by first reminding the couple of the potential harm. Often, the couple will be so focused on getting what they want they may inadvertently neglect their children. A family mediator is able to suggest solutions which will work for both parents in terms of custody and visitation rights.
Can Support Friends and Family
When going through a divorce, couples rarely give much thought to how the divorce is affecting people other than themselves and their children. However, the divorce can very much affect friends and family both directly and indirectly.
For the parents and extended family of the divorcing couple, there will be anxiety over losing touch with one partner, or no longer being able to spend as much time with their grandchildren. For mutual friends of the separating couple, an acrimonious divorce can lead to having to make a choice between the two friends, which can often cause a significant amount of distress.
A professional family mediator can help to smooth things between the couple before they escalate. Therefore, it can help to maintain the networks of relationships that the couple have in place. This is particularly important in the case of child custody whereby a set of grandparents may fear that, following the divorce, they will become estranged from their grandchildren.
How to Hire a Family Mediator
Family mediation costs around £120 an hour, and both partners must agree to this as you cannot ‘force’ a person to take part in mediation. If the mediation will involve children, you can apply to your local council for financial help toward the costs of the mediator.
Where possible, it’s best to go to mediation before hiring solicitors as, once you’ve retained a solicitor, the financial clock starts ticking. When you’re ready to hire a mediator, you can find a local one on the Family Mediation Council’s website.
Is Mediation Better Than Using a Solicitor?
Around 103,592 UK married couples get divorced every year; an experience which is considered to be one of the most stressful that a person can go through. While it may not be possible to have a ‘nice’ divorce, it is very much possible to ensure that it is conducted quickly and in a civil manner. This can save the couple a great deal of stress and money, as well as protecting children and other family members.
With the best will in the world, some couples find that they are unable to reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce; particularly where one party feels wronged, for example, through infidelity or abuse. This can lead to a prolonged divorce, which will rack up solicitor’s fees at an alarming pace – adding even more pressure to the process.
A family mediator can help to lay the foundations for calmer, more civil conversations, and encourage the couple to approach things in a less emotional way. This way, both parties stand a better chance of finding solutions that they can live with, as well as allowing them to move on with their lives much more quickly.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a legal professional if you’re seeking advice about family law. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
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