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Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of mediation?
What happens in mediation?
How long does mediation take?
Do I need a solicitor? How does family mediation fit into divorce?
Is the agreement reached legally binding?
How can I find a mediation service in my area?
The benefits of mediation are recognised by government, solicitors and in particular the separating or divorcing couples and parents who use mediation services. The principal benefits of mediation are that it is:
- time-saving in comparison with other ways of resolving disputes
- less costly than alternatives
- less stressful than going to court
- a way of enabling the parties to keep in control of the situation
- non adversarial - mediation isn't about letting relationships deteriorate further
- in the best interests of the family
- focused on achieving a fair outcome
The mediator will meet you either separately or together at an assessment meeting, prior to mediation taking place. The assessment meeting gives you an opportunity to find out more about mediation and also for the mediator to look at your case.
Once you are both happy to go ahead with mediation you will have regular meetings with the mediator until proposals are reached. This usually takes about three to five meetings of an hour and a half each.
The mediator will then draw up a record of your proposals in an agreed format. If the mediation looks at finance and property the mediator will also draw up a full summary of your financial position. If required, these documents can be taken to your solicitor for use in your divorce.
In comparison with other routes, mediation is a quick process. Most cases can be dealt with in about three to five meetings in total. The frequency and number of meetings depends on the complexity of the issues being discussed and your own timescales. At the assessment meeting the mediator will be able to give you a clearer idea about how many sessions you may need.
Your mediator may encourage you to consult a solicitor if it is felt appropriate. A mediator can give you legal information by not advice. Many couples use both the services of a mediator and a solicitor in going through a divorce. This is a very cost effective and time-saving route.
Mediation agreements are not legally binding and rely on the parties themselves to put into effect what they agreed. If required, you can take the mediation proposals to your solicitor for a legally binding agreement to be drawn up.
Use our Find a FMA mediator interactive map to make contact with a mediation service in your area.