It is #NationalMediationWeek this week, and so on our blog we are focusing on the how, what and why of mediation as a process. At the firm we have two qualified Resolution mediators - Peter Burgess and David Lillywhite who are trained to help clients work through their differences. Here are a few pointers on mediation as a process - feel free to pick up the phone and give us a call for more details.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party or third parties will work with two or more clients to facilitate discussion between them on an issue or issues. The discussions are voluntary and confidential. The mediator cannot advise the clients but can give them information and using their training helps them to develop options between themselves, by asking questions and using their experience to provide expert guidance through the process.
What does it cover?
Family mediation has been around for a few decades and typically covers divorce, its financial consequences and the arrangements for children.
How long does it take?
The model we use at Burgess Mee is the classic family model which tends to involve two ‘intake’ sessions of forty five minutes to an hour, one on one with the mediator and then a series of four or five ‘joint’ sessions, usually ninety minutes or so in length. These sessions are usually a few weeks apart to allow time for reflection, advice and follow up points.
Will I be able to get disclosure of my partner’s finances?
Yes. The mediation process around finances will involve completion of the required disclosure and supporting documentation. The mediator doesn't check the disclosure but clients often take their own advice during the process and can cross check particular points with their own advisers.
Can I use the information later in court?
The disclosure can be referred to in court proceedings later but the discussions about outcomes are ‘privileged’ and can’t be used later on in court. One exception is where there are child welfare issues and in this case, discussions can be referred to in Court in certain circumstances.
What happens if I get an agreement?
The mediator will convert an agreed set of proposals into two outcome documents - an open financial statement (which is open for use later) and a memorandum of understanding (which is not). The OFS and MOU are shown to the parties’ lawyers who can advise them on the outcome and turn the proposals into a consent order (in financial cases) or parenting plan or order (in children cases).
How much does it cost?
Due to only paying primarily one professional, mediation can be much cheaper than having negotiations between each party’s solicitor. It is also a required prerequisite for any court application in relation to money or child arrangements. Our mediators charge on the basis of an hourly rate, but only for time in the session, time reviewing disclosure and drawing up the outcome documents. Peter Burgess charges £300 per hour plus VAT and David Lillywhite £270 per hour plus VAT.
Why not give us a call and talk through your situation - we’re happy to help!