The role of the Mediator
A Mediator is not a legal advisor or a counsellor. The process is complimentary to the legal process and both parties may be advised separately (although they are not obliged to have solicitors).
The Mediator helps those involved to identify the issues important to them and assist them with gathering information and exploring their options with a view to them making informed decisions that benefit the family.
What are the advantages?
Mediation encourages constructive communication between those who have family issues rather than setting them against one another as often happens in the legal process.
Mediation typically entails less than a handful of 1½ hour sessions and therefore, if successful can be less time consuming and cheaper than other methods of resolving such disputes.
Mediation allows those involved to make their own decisions rather than allowing a third party to impose decisions upon them. The participants are likely to be happier with any decisions made and such decisions may endure.
Particularly where children are concerned, the process allows more wide ranging discussions about issues impacting upon them rather than other forms of dispute resolution and therefore more rounded solutions suiting the children may result. The mediation process encourages co-operation and therefore reduces conflict. This will certainly benefit the children.
Lisa Kellett is a Resolution trained Mediator and an Accredited Specialist Family Lawyer with particular specialism in financial/property disputes arising from separation and divorce and in domestic violence.