Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party (the mediator) helps parties to reach their own mutually acceptable solution to a dispute. It can be initiated by a request from one or both of the parties to the dispute or it can be ordered by a court. It is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and it differs from arbitration because the mediator does not make a decision binding on the parties but simply facilitates the negotiation of a settlement. It can be held at any stage in the course of a dispute and it is usually quicker than going to court.
It is a flexible process where the mediator may talk to you individually or together, reframe issues and assist you to understand each other and identify solutions. A mediator does not take sides, pass down decisions or offer legal advice and any information you disclose is confidential.
Family mediation is a voluntary process but it has become increasingly popular and the courts encourage parties to consider mediating their disputes. The courts also recognise that it is often quicker and less expensive than going to court.
Family mediations typically involve a series of meetings between a couple and the mediator. Some meetings are face-to-face but more often meetings are held remotely. This has been particularly the case during the Covid-19 pandemic as more and more family mediators have begun to offer meetings via Zoom and other online platforms. mediation uk