Taking place from 18-22 January 2021, Family Mediation Week aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can assist separating families to manage their issues collaboratively. In this article, we highlight what child mediation is and answer common questions our family law solicitors receive about child mediation.
At Rose & Rose, we understand that divorce can be daunting, challenging, and time-consuming and if not handled well, expensive. With the right help and advice, it can also be none of those things. Our family law solicitors will advise you on the appropriate mediation process.
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What is child mediation?
Family mediation regarding children is recommended to assist parents who find it hard to agree on making suitable arrangements for children due to a family breakdown. Mediation is the process by which families can negotiate future arrangements for children with the help of a neutral third party. It can also be helpful when arrangements you have made before need to change, especially as your children grow up. The mediator does not tell the separating individuals what to do, but rather offers legal and professional advice to them and their circumstances.
What does a child mediator do?
A child mediator will help you find a solution that works for both individuals separating and will explain what needs to happen to make an agreement between you legally binding. A mediator aims to help both parties reach an amicable solution as well as improve communication between the two parties.
A child mediator must act impartially and avoid any conflict of interest at all times and must not mediate on a dispute where they have acquired relevant information about the parties. They must keep details obtained during the mediation confidential. A mediator must remain neutral on the outcome of the mediation. They must not seek to enforce their preferred outcome or influence on any of the parties.
Do I have to go to child mediation?
From April 2014, anyone applying to the courts for assistance in resolving disputes about finances or children will be required to attend a meeting Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. This includes any applications for:
Child Arrangements Order
Specific Issue Order
Prohibited Steps Order
Parental Responsibility Order
An order appointing a Child’s Guardian
Removal from Jurisdiction Order
Special Guardianship Order
You will not need to attend mediation for the above if:
there are ongoing emergency procedures in place
there are care proceedings in place
there are supervision proceedings for a child in place
you are applying for a consent order
there is an Emergency Protection Order in place
there is a Care Order in place
there is a Supervision Order in place
What is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting is the initial formal meeting that will establish whether your situation requires mediation and if the process will help you to reach an amicable agreement.
What are the benefits of child mediation?
There are several advantages to attending mediation, such as:
more control over what decisions are made in relation to your children, rather than applying to the courts;
providing a more efficient and cost-effective way of resolving disputes.
providing a tension-free way of dealing with sensitive matters.
allowing arrangements to be reviewed and change, so long as they are mutually agreed upon by both parties; and
improving communication, and helping you to sort out future arrangements.
Are any agreements made through child mediation legally binding?
Any agreements made during mediation are not legally binding in the sense of being enforceable in a court. Some people do decide to get a solicitor to look over the agreement, and the agreement can be used in court at a later stage in order to create a Consent Order.
How long can child mediation take?
Depending on the complexity of the situation, mediation can last from 45mins – 2 hours.
What if we cannot reach an agreement through child mediation?
If you cannot reach an agreement with the other participant or mediation does not work, you may proceed with your dispute to the courts. You must ensure that the mediator signs and certifies your application form.
Why Choose Rose & Rose?
Our experienced team of Family Law solicitors is here to help you. We will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome and can advise you on the appropriate mediation services.
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