Separation doesn't have to end in divorce

It may seem a strange sentiment, but this time of year actually sees the highest number of divorces than any other time of the year. Dubbed “divorce day” by many of us in the legal profession, January 7 2019 is the first working Monday after Christmas. It is also predicted to be the day we see a predicted spike in the number of divorces – but maybe there is something we can do about that.

What is mediation?
Separations do not always have to end in divorce and there are other ways to address a broken down marriage. Alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, could actually provide a neutral environment and an open platform to discuss problems within the marriage. Sometimes, simple talking and just communicating can do wonders. It has actually brought a number of marriages back from the brink, when the implications of separation become a reality.

Mediation is a voluntary process. It involves an independent person, a mediator, who is appointed to help amicably resolve a problem between two or more parties outside of court. Mediators are qualified personnel who can work with companies or individuals to find a solution.

Mediation is best used if those involved want to find a way forward and can prove to be a much more cost-effective solution in most cases – including divorce.

Could mediation cause further tension?
What mediation is not is biased. Your mediator remains completely neutral throughout and merely supports the communication between the two parties. Usually, they ask questions to help uncover any underlying issues, clarify those issues and make clear the options of resolution. The process is carried out in a strictly confidential environment. You can consult with your solicitor at any time throughout the process, but they will not be present at the meetings.

This would initially involve an appointment with us where we would review all aspects of the case and assess the circumstances and then advise on the best course of action available.

Each mediation process is different – it is a myth that one size fits all. However, the overall aim of mediation is to pursue a positive outcome. The idea is to get two or more people to come together and try to find a solution to their problem.

What happens if no agreement is reached?
There is no authority to impose a decision and nothing will be decided unless both parties agree. This reduces the tension and also knowing that you are still free to instigate legal proceedings is key to any mediation. Plus, it is well-documented that mediation can achieve real results. It is not as formal as litigation or arbitration and follows is own methodology.

Therefore, if you think mediation might help you to avoid a divorce, or you would like some further information about the mediation process, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.