While it is possible to resolve many issues amicably, even separations that take place on good terms can have sticking points and help is often required to make sensible short and long-term arrangements. At this time, it is typically advised that former partners enter into mediation to reach agreements over the division of assets and custody of children.
How can family mediation help?
A mediator is an independent, trained and experienced professional, helping both parties to form an agreement on vital matters. Most commonly this includes organising schedules for visitation, but a mediator can also facilitate financial arrangements such as the amount that must be paid as part of the child and spousal maintenance payments. They can also work to make sure that each parent is financially secure, by helping reach a suitable solution on the distribution of savings, debts and possibly even the value of the family home if it needs to be sold.
Why should a separating couple opt for mediation?
The aim of a mediator is to help all parties to reach agreements that allow them to move forward – gaining both a structure to future interactions in relation to children and dependents and drawing a line under lingering financial matters.
A separation or divorce can be a turbulent time for both parents and children, with emotions running high and arguments not uncommon. The aim of mediation is to enable clear lines of communication and problem solving, even through the most stressful situations. Through mediation, both parents can deal with their issues and help the children through the separation process sensitively.
Mediators do not hand out judgements or rulings, and will not force either party into agreements against their wishes. Instead, they will help all parties find a solution that they can agree upon before advising on how to make it legally binding.
What if I haven't tried mediation?
It is important to bear in mind that a family court judge will expect former partners to have considered mediation before applying for a court date. Unless you can prove that mediation would not be viable, due to domestic violence or other mitigating circumstances, then the court can refuse to hear a case until mediation has been attempted.
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