Posted on: July 3rd, 2023
The two different forms of support here are Family Mediation for divorce and separation, and Family Mediation for when families are trying to stay together (often referred to as Intra-Family Mediation).
The process aims to lead to an (ultimately binding) agreement around arrangements for children, property, and finances when a relationship ends.
It is currently still voluntary (under review) but an initial mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) is mandatory before taking a divorce through court.
The couple will likely get legal opinion or guidance from the mediator, who is often a family lawyer, but will usually have their own separate solicitors to advise them and to make their agreement into a final binding (consent) order.
Negotiations could include arrangements around caring for elders, or who lives where, etc., but the focus is more on how to preserve and repair the relationships among children, siblings, parents, and even wider family members.
The intention is to keep the family together or, in some cases, to agree arrangements for how someone might move out or how the family might otherwise be re-configured.
The mediator is not a lawyer and, with a few exceptions, parties do not need legal advice in order to come up with a (usually non-binding) good faith agreement about how the family’s interpersonal relationships can be repaired and preserved.
Understandably, these two processes can get confused when people refer to them both as ‘family mediation’! The way we like to talk about them at UK Mediation and EU Mediation is that one is for agreeing separation arrangements where the family is splitting up, while the other is for maintaining family relationships where the family is trying to stay together.
We have never done divorce and separation mediation and don’t plan to.
We are not lawyers and, lately, Family Mediation has become more like a quasi-legal discipline, in which certain boxes have to be ticked in order for the consent order to get signed off by a judge. We also don’t feel that it is actually mediation in the truest sense.
The mediator is not entirely impartial, given that he or she will guide or advise the parties on what they can agree, and the parties’ self-determination is thereby compromised to a degree.
The variety of mediation that we do practise, for improving relationships in a family that is staying together, is a powerful and highly-effective process with which we have had great success over the years.
So, if relationships in the family are strained, or if communication has broken down, we would strongly recommend getting an impartial mediator to support everyone equally in coming to some understandings and agreement. Just be sure that you are getting the right kind of family mediation!
Here at UK Mediation, we have 23 years of experience in helping family members have an open discussion about issues that are causing a breakdown in the relationship. We can help with a range of family issues including sibling fall outs, intergenerational issues and situations where families want to stay together.
Looking for some help with your Family Relationship Mediation? Contact our friendly team today to discuss your mediation requirements.