If you want to stay out of court and try to reach an amicable agreement but feel a bit nervous about attending mediation on your own, this could be a really good option for you
To start the process, we will still need to meet with each of you for a separate confidential meeting (MIAM) to discuss the mediation process and its suitability and obtain some background and understanding of the issues involved. We will then have a joint meeting with your lawyer and the lawyer representing your partner to discuss the process and their role in supporting you in the mediation meetings.
After these meetings have taken place Hybrid (lawyer-assisted) mediation can start. The process is very flexible and the lawyers can be involved in all of the meetings or just some of the meetings. Sometimes half a day or a full day can be booked for the meetings or there can be a series of meetings over a period of time. We will all discuss and agree what would be the best way to resolve the issues that you need to address. What is really helpful is that experts can also be involved in the meetings e.g., a neutral financial advisor or accountant so that questions can be asked and dealt with on the day.
It is also possible to have “confidentiality meetings”. These enable you to discuss things separately with us that you might not have felt able to do if the other person were there. These meetings are really helpful to discuss options for reaching agreement and avoids raising the other person’s expectations or feeling committed to an option. This can help people to bring options to the table more quickly. These separate meetings also give us a valuable insight into your preferred outcomes and priorities and we will then be able to see opportunities for settlement and the areas of commonality, narrowing the issues and hopefully enabling settlement at an early stage.
We cannot keep some matters confidential such as relevant financial information/documents or matters relating to the safeguarding of children.
How is this different to “traditional” family mediation?
- You can sit in separate rooms (in person or virtually) so you might not have to sit together a great deal. We can do what is called “shuttling” between you both. Joint discussions can still take place when this would assist.
- Your lawyer can support and give you legal advice throughout the meeting and process.
- We can keep confidences which can help focus discussions and proposals.