The First Step
Initially you will be asked to complete and sign a simple referral form and a Form of Agreement to Mediate. This form contains the principles that guide the mediation process.
The First Session
During the first session each of you will be given an opportunity to be seen separately so you can tell us what you want to achieve from mediation. We can also ensure you do not feel under pressure to reach agreement by your estranged spouse.
If the mediation concerns financial issues, there must be full disclosure of all income and financial assets and appropriate corroboration by way of appropriate documentation. Whether these matters are resolved in mediation, through negotiations between solicitors or by a judge in court, the requirement for financial disclosure needs to be met so an informed decision can be made. Independent advice from other professionals can and will be obtained as required with costs equally divided. It is important that neither party is ever disadvantaged by any imbalance in power, with continuing active consideration of this is being part of the mediation process. You should never negotiate out of fear, but not be in fear to negotiate.
As Mediators, we will never define a settlement and/or impose an agreement upon you. As stated above, our role is to assist you in reaching your settlement. We do not take sides on any issue. We will want to help you through a difficult process and to diminish your pain. Finally, as Mediators will help you use negotiation to place the past behind you. A marriage may be ending but you have a life ahead of you. This new life can be marred by holding on to the anger of separation, or it can be an exciting opportunity to redefine yourself.
Mediation Sessions normally last between one to one and a half hours. The number of sessions will vary in accordance to progress and needs, but many couples find that all issues are resolved in two to four sessions. The cost is usually shared.
Mediation will not work for every couple, but where it does work, will result in a settlement at a fraction of the costs of issuing proceedings. Similarly, if matters are not totally agreed often substantial progress has been made.
Memorandum of Understanding
If you reach a decision on some or all issues, we will set out your proposals in a document called Memorandum of Understanding. If the mediation involves financial matters we will, in addition, produce a financial summary [Statement of Finances] which sums up the financial information. These documents will then be provided to your solicitors for them to provide formal legal advice and indeed to formally explain and approve with you and or to raise any further issues for negotiation