The Government has now made it compulsory for anyone wishing to make an application for the court to deal with arrangements for their children or financial issues to indicate that they have at least considered mediation. This generally means seeing an accredited mediator for a MIAM appointment: an initial individual meeting to find out more about mediation. Mediation itself is voluntary; you do not have to mediate, but merely consider it as an option.
The reason for that is not just that a contested divorce is much more expensive and time-consuming than a mediated settlement: but that children cope much better with their parents’ separation if both parents maintain at least civil relations after their divorce and both continue to play a role in their children’s lives.
Using mediation as a tool to end your marriage ensures that – despite the pain and anger that often accompany a breakup – you both put your family first as you work through your issues.
In addition to any potential childcare issues, divorce mediation also helps you finalise arrangements concerning your family home, finances such as your mortgage and pension, and any debts and what income you each will have.
Your mediator is a trained, impartial specialist, who will listen and inform, but also help you understand your partner’s point of view and guide you through difficult decisions.
You meet your mediator for several sessions – how many varies from couple to couple, and while we will guide you towards reaching an agreement, we will also ensure that you are comfortable with the pace. We will talk through all aspects of your divorce until you reach and write down an agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding, which forms the basis for your divorce settlement.
At Lighthouse Mediation we see both parties individually for an initial meeting, to give you both the opportunity to separately consider the mediation option and process thoroughly.