Posts Tagged: mediation

Family Mediation Week 2018: Day 4

Day 4 of Family Mediation Week and there are many more excellent contributions.

The following from Anne Braithwaite, is particularly informative and helpful in explaining what mediators actually do that can help:

Amongst all the heartache and anger, there is fear!

Written by Anne Braithwaite, FMA

I have been a mediator for over 25 years. For all but the last 5 ½ of those years, I was also a divorce lawyer dealing with all the fall out when a marriage ends with a focus on money. I guess I’ve now spent going on for 35 years helping people from all walks of life sort out what to do when the world as they know it ends. I know that, amongst all the heartache and anger, there is fear about what the future will bring. Until finances are sorted out it’s impossible to live other than in limbo, a very insecure place to be.

So everybody who separates needs to resolve financial issues before they can rebuild their lives. Often having a safer place financially speaking helps focus on the emotional needs of children. It also means you can answer the questions which they have about where they will live and go to school.

Many people don’t have a clue where to start or, even if they do, feel the need of some professional help. A mediator gives that help. Mediators don’t just get couples in a room and then let them just try to sort things out. How would anyone know where to start? That’s the mediator’s job. Whilst being flexible to the needs of each couple, mediators are in charge of the actual process. Your mediator ensures that sessions have focus and that the whole process feels that it is going somewhere. Mediation has to feel safe and that it has a structure and purpose.

Separation is new to you. You need to understand what the rules are. Mediators help there by giving what we call “legal information”. That means explaining things such as what the relevant legal factors are in a neutral way. I know my clients find that knowing what a court would consider helps them talk about their own financial division and what feels like a fair outcome. Having that information enables people to start to talk with a sense of direction.

Mediators also help to explain what you might do about pensions for example, a subject of great importance where most people feel at least a little at sea. Mediators make suggestions about how to achieve agreed valuations and get mortgage advice. They help you pull all the threads together. This is all new to clients but many mediators have years of experience in the family law field. We are guides through the process who can pass on knowledge so that you realise that you actually can be in control of what happens. Crucially a mediator will help you work out the shape of your future.

This is all against the background of full financial disclosure. There has to be evidence about income and capital, not just taking each other’s words for things. Apart from the fact that nobody can start to talk about dividing everything up without establishing what is there in the first place, mediators realise that trust is usually in short supply. Clients only feel safe to negotiate when they are sure of the facts.

A mediator will also listen to what is important to you both and may help you take into consideration things that haven’t even occurred to you, or at least not to both of you, such as being able to live in areas which offer a chance of getting children into good schools and how to help your children through higher education and to afford the school trips that their friends will go on.

When you decide on what you want to do, the mediator sets that out in a memorandum of understanding. This isn’t legally binding yet as it is the last step in negotiations. It’s also a good idea to have legal advice before making your proposals legally binding. I always strongly suggest to my clients that they take that advice in between our mediation sessions and not wait until the mediation is concluded. The terms in the memorandum are made legally binding by having either a separation agreement or a consent order made in divorce proceedings.

Mediation is a professionally led means of negotiation, a negotiation where you are assisted by a neutral third party who will be able to give you legal information and practical pointers whilst ensuring an equality of bargaining power between the two of you. It is a process where the two of you determine the shape of your futures for yourselves. After all only the two of you know what will best suit you and your family. What mediation is not, is remotely fluffy.

Anne Braithwaite

Treasurer on the board of The Family Mediators Association

Family-Mediation-Week-2016

It’s time to choose a better way: Able Mediation supports Family Mediation Week 2016

Every year, thousands of families are torn apart by bitter court battles. Relationships between separating parents are irretrievably broken, and all too often their children are caught up in the middle.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is another way, a way that has helped many divorcing parents build a constructive future for their family, without a court imposing decisions on them.

About family mediation

Family mediation puts you in control, with the help and support of highly trained professionals who can help you make decisions about your future.

Research shows that mediation is often the best way for families to resolve conflicts. It is proven to be faster, less costly and – crucially – less adversarial than divorcing through the courts. Unfortunately, too few people know about it, and end up locked in angry disputes that have far-reaching consequences for them, and for their children.

Family Mediation Week (11-15 January 2016)

11-15 January 2016 is Family Mediation Week. Organised by the Family Mediators Association (FMA), our aim is to raise awareness of mediation as an alternative to court battles for separating couples.

Mediation can help you take control of your own family’s future, making constructive decisions together rather than asking someone else to decide what should happen to your children or your finances. We want to help and support people at the point of separation, and also let other people know that family mediation is an option they can suggest to friends or family members who are experiencing separation and don’t know where to go for help.

Over the course of Family Mediation Week, we will be publishing information and resources to help more people understand that there is a better, more constructive option that puts children first and helps separating families create a brighter future.

Find out more:

To receive more information about family mediation, how it works and how it can benefit separating families, contact us directly by phone or email, like our Facebook page, follow Juliet on Twitter or visit our member organisation website at www.thefma.co.uk or www.familymediationweek.org.uk

Support for making full financial disclosure

Most clients find the process of making full financial disclosure time consuming.  Many also find it difficult as they may not have access to documents or they may not be used to dealing with finances.  However, it is a pre-requisite to being able to enter into meaningful discussion about a settlement and being able to reality test options.

Advice Now have produced this really useful and straight forward video to help people fill in Form E, the court form used for making full financial disclosure.  However, it may also be useful for mediation clients who may be struggling to fill in their disclosure forms, whether this is the Form E or a mediation adapted version.

Although, as mediators, we are always happy to support our clients in this process, the more you can do yourself in preparation for a session the better, as it will move the process on more quickly, saving you both time and money.

#mediation   #FormE   #financialdisclosure

Volume of family mediation starts 46 per cent down on pre-LASPO levels

According to figures published by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the number of family mediations getting underway is still 46 per cent down on pre-LASPO levels.

The report, covering the third quarter of 2014 (July to September), reveals that the use of mediation has fallen since the implementation of LASPO in April 2013 with the volume of family mediation starts and assessments still down on pre-LASPO levels. However, figures reveal that in the last year there has been an increase, with a 20 per cent rise in the latest quarter compared to the same period in 2013.

Marc Lopatin, …read more

Source: Family Law News