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Today's myth: the mediation process is always the same

One of the great benefits of the mediation process is that it is hugely flexible. This means that it can be tailored to those who are using the process. For example, where a couple have been separated for some time and are now not feeling hugely emotional about the separation, they may be keen to find a resolution to issues so they can move on to the next chapter. They may therefore come to mediation meetings very regularly – say 4 meetings over a 2-month period. Where a couple have only recently separated but still feel things need to be sorted out, they may take things at a slower pace to allow for the fact that things feel more raw. They may therefore attend 5 mediation meetings over a period of 6 months. They may each attend a counselling session after mediation to help them with difficult emotions that crop up.

There are also other ways of using the mediation process such as Child Inclusive mediation where children's voices can be heard as part of the mediation process. This is not designed to give children any responsibility for decision making but rather a safe space where they can share things with the mediator as an impartial person. It's completely confidential and the mediator only feeds back to parents what the child or children feel comfortable with. This way the children know they can share how they're feeling with someone without having to share the things that might cause their parents' upset. They can then discuss with the mediator what messages they would like past onto their parents. Their parents are then able to hear their children's views and to be guided by them in discussing arrangements in mediation meetings. It's a valuable tool.

Many mediators take the view that the mediation process should be tailored to the clients in it at any moment. The initial meetings with each party individually (called MIAMS – Mediation Information and Assessment meetings) enable the mediator to explore what might assist the parties so that the process can be tailored to them.

For more information, please call us on: 01273694661

Source: Whitney, L

No-Fault Divorce and Family Justice in the UK
Enforcing Financial Orders