Family mediation gives separating couples an opportunity to decide for themselves what to do about their children and finances, with help and guidance from trained and impartial mediators. In family mediation, clients are encouraged to co-operate with one another to negotiate and find their own ways to move forward with their lives. Research shows that family mediation can cost less than a quarter of the price and take a quarter of the time of going to court and, more importantly, it can ensure better results for families too.
Many people repeatedly go to court to argue about things they would be able to sort out themselves with a little help. This is expensive and emotionally draining, impacting on everyone in the family.
Parents know their children, which means they are the best people to make decisions about their children. However, it is often difficult to sit down together and have conversations with each other about the children without being side tracked by adult stuff.
Many couples want to sort out what to do about their finances themselves but would like professional help in doing so. Mediation can also help them do this.
National Audit Office figures on legally-aided mediation show that the average time for a mediated case to be completed is 110 days, compared to 435 days for court cases on similar issues. Mediation is also often cheaper than going to court – data from Legal Aid cases shows the average cost per client of mediation is £535 compared to £2,823 for cases going to court.
According to the Ministry of Justice, in 2013 “nearly two thirds of couples who attended a single mediation session for a child dispute reached a full agreement. Almost seven out of every ten couples who opted for mediation reached an agreement.” (Ministry of Justice Press Release published 20 August 2014)