What are the benefits of resolving financial matters in mediation as opposed to within Court proceedings?
Written by Sally Clarke, FMA board Secretary
- As a process, mediation is far cheaper than the Court process
- Time – the process of mediation is far quicker than waiting for Court appointments. If an application to Court is made within the context of divorce proceedings or civil partnership dissolution proceedings, the first hearing will not be listed for 12-14 weeks. That first hearing is very rarely treated as a substantive hearing. It is actually similar to a first mediation session where the focus of the Court is to consider what further information is necessary to enable the Court, if the parties cannot agree on matters, to make a decision. That decision, however, will usually involve the parties attending two further Court hearings and the final hearing will rarely be listed within 12 months of proceedings being issued.
Sometimes it is necessary for parties to go to Court. It is important to be aware however that Court proceedings can be adjourned at any point for the parties to engage in family mediation.
- Discussions take place around a table typically and the mediator’s role is to help the parties focus upon their interests and to reality test proposals as opposed to the parties negotiating via solicitors letters/barristers within Court proceedings
- The process can be flexible and can involve third-party input, where necessary. The process can also assist the parties to reach creative solutions
- The process of mediation assists parties to retain control and make their own decisions regarding important aspects of their future as opposed to handing those decisions to a stranger in a courtroom
- Where children are involved then the process can assist the parties to preserve a working dialogue as parents as opposed to becoming unduly acrimonious within litigation proceedings.
The above is written from the point of view of divorce/civil partnership breakdown. For separating parties who are not married then the process is very similar however financial aspects may vary.