Sorting out family issues brings with it a unique set of challenges. The most significant barrier to a successful conclusion is that emotions run high, and bridges can be burned in a matter of minutes by the ‘wrong thing’ being said at the wrong time. Escalating a family dispute to the courts is not only expensive, but it feels impersonal, stressful, and sometimes invasive. This is why people look for alternatives to heading to court. And this is why family mediation is so important and so successful.
Family Mediation Week runs from the 17th to the 21st of January 2022. It is designed to highlight the role of mediation rather than litigation. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the process, what it involves, and how our trained mediators at OGR Stock Denton can help you work towards a successful solution.
What is family mediation?
Sometimes, it needs a fresh pair of eyes to see a way through a tangled family dispute. This is where professionally trained family mediators can help. These independent and highly experienced mediators help families work out the most practical, fair and balanced solutions to various issues, including child access and finances after separation.
What’s so crucial about mediation is that it gives people the chance to sort out volatile issues without the need to take them through the courts. Mediation focuses on finding a solution that works for everyone without ever losing sight of vital issues such as fairness and the needs of the children. It’s a flexible, fluid process that can even be carried out virtually if you prefer.
Getting things moving
The first step is a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting, or MIAM. This lasts for about an hour and allows you to explain the issues to your mediator fully. They’ll also be able to give you a full explanation of the process and answer any questions you may have. At the end of the meeting, your mediator will tell you whether your case is suitable for mediation and what the next step is. They’ll also be able to refer you to other services that may help you and your family through the process.
How much does this cost?
Different mediation services will have different charging structures. You should enquire when making an appointment. It is far cheaper than going to Court! Currently there is a voucher scheme applicable to mediations regarding children’s issues that will pay up to £500 toward the cost of mediation. In addition if you are financially eligible for legal aid some services will offer this. At OGR Stock Denton we are able to offer the voucher scheme, but do not offer legal aid. Your mediator will be able to tell you exactly what to expect during your initial MIAM and throughout the process.
Bear in mind that you can withdraw from the process at any time. If you decide to do so, your mediator will advise you on the next steps.
Is it compulsory?
If you’re planning to take a case to court, whether over finances, or matters concerning children, then in most cases you will need to attend a MIAM beforehand. This demonstrates to the courts that all parties have at least tried to resolve the situation through mediation before escalating it. Only accredited mediators (certified as accredited by the Family Mediation Council) can sign a court form confirming that you have tried to resolve the process through mediation.
OGR Stock Denton’s family mediation team
At OGR Stock Denton, we believe that mediation is one of the most powerful tools in resolving family disputes successfully and with as little stress to the individuals as possible. That’s why we’ve put so much effort into expanding our team of accredited mediators. Peter Martin is a highly respected mediator with over 30 years’ experience. He has believed for many years that mediation allows couples to approach emotive issues in a rational and clear-sighted way. With the help of a neutral yet experienced mediator, we can reach a mutually satisfactory resolution far more quickly.
The mediation team is now expanded and our latest team member is Holly Covington, who has qualified as a mediator. Our head of family, Graeme Fraser, welcomed her into the team, saying: “I am delighted that Holly Covington has developed her skills and knowledge to qualify as a Resolution trained mediator. As more and more of our clients look to resolve matters using out-of-court solutions, Holly is an integral part of our expanding team’s offering of mediation, collaborative law and arbitration for which OGR Stock Denton is a leading provider”.
Holly Covington is equally pleased to be a part of OGR Stock Denton’s Mediation team. “I am very excited to be able to help even more families and separating couples for whom mediation can be such a valuable and empowering process,” she explained. “Now that I am a trained Resolution Mediator and registered with the Family Mediation Council (FMC), I can offer mediation services alongside my colleague Peter Martin which provides clients with the option for co-mediation (with us both). Please do contact us if you would like more information about mediation or to discuss what may work best for you and your family.”
Should you wish to speak to a Family Mediator then please get in touch today by email or call us on 020 8349 0321.