Mediation is the voluntary process through which separating couples seek to resolve any issues which may arise between them as a consequence of their separation.
The process is intended to maintain communication between the couple, empowering them to construct their own solutions within the context of what a court might impose.
It is also hoped that the increased level of direct communication occasioned by the process will enable the couple to maintain that level of communication beyond the involvement of lawyers, in the best interests of any children of the family.
We have been at the forefront of the mediation process and are well placed to deal with the new Family Procedure Rules which took effect on 6th April 2011. We are able to provide the mediation intake and assessment meetings (MIAMS) required by the rules prior to the issue of any court application except in exceptional circumstances and we will see the couple either as individuals at separate appointments or together.
Where appropriate we can have direct consultation meetings with any children involved in the process, the purpose being to ascertain their true wishes and feelings.
Our excellent relationship with other practitioners both locally and nationally means that we will work closely with the individual lawyers instructed by each party, ensuring the overall efficiency of the service.
Who to contact
Karin Walker trained with Resolution as a mediator in 1997. She is qualified to engage in direct consultation with children and is CRB checked. She is listed as a leading individual in the current edition of Chambers.
Karin was a Governor of the UK College of family mediators from 2001 until 2006, during which period she held the positions of Vice Chair and Acting Chair.
As an accredited mediator, Karin is able to hold mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMS) under the Government’s new pre-action protocol from 6th April 2011.
Joanna Blakelock and Matthew Gosnell also both qualified as Mediators with Resolution in September 2013 and can be contacted on 01483 375788 for further information.
1. What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process designed to assist separating couples reach agreement on any issues which may arise between them as a consequence of their separation.
2. Who is the mediator?
The mediator is a specially trained family lawyer. Their role is to assist the couple with their discussions and to provide legal information. They will not provide legal advice. If they believe that either of the couple requires individual legal advice they will draw this to their attention during the process.
3. If I instruct a lawyer at KGW Family Law as an individual can they mediate for myself and my partner/spouse?
If a lawyer from KGW Family law is instructed by an individual, a mediator from the same firm cannot be instructed by the couple but we may refer out to another mediation provider and work closely with the client alongside the process of mediation providing advice when required, particularly in relation to ultimate proposals for settlement. In addition we would prepare the paperwork for the court to finalise any agreement proposed at the conclusion of the process.
4. Do I need to instruct a solicitor as well as see a mediator?
It is useful, although not essential, to have an initial meeting with a family lawyer prior to the first mediation session so that you have received some advice from your own perspective. It is important to retain a solicitor during the process to advise if necessary along the way and to draft the necessary documentation at the conclusion of the process.
5. Is an agreement achieved through mediation binding?
The proposals identified at the conclusion of the mediation process will only become a binding agreement when both parties have had an opportunity to take independent legal advice and the intention to create a binding agreement has been subsequently communicated – ideally in writing.
6. Why can’t the mediator complete all the documentation for the court?
The mediator is an impartial facilitator who is not acting specifically on behalf of either party. It is vital that the court process is handled by a lawyer acting on behalf of each individual so their interests are completely protected. This is not a role which could properly be fulfilled for both (or either) parties by the mediator and indeed their professional regulations prevent them from doing so.
7. Does the mediator do any work outside the mediation sessions?
The mediator may have to read documents prior to a session or prepare a summary after a session, which work will give rise to an additional charge at the mediator’s hourly rate. The majority of the work however takes place during the mediation sessions.
8. Can my solicitor attend mediation with me?
Usually the couple will attend mediation on their own as this is most cost effective. The mediator is trained to manage the session and deal with any possible power imbalance or other potential issues. If necessary however lawyers may attend the sessions, in particular the final session to advise on proposals.
9. Is mediation only appropriate if my partner/spouse and I are broadly in agreement?
Even the most hotly contested, contentious matters can be resolved through mediation. No level of initial agreement is required.
10. Who pays the cost?
The cost of mediation is usually paid in equal shares but can be met in whatever way the couple may agree.
11. Can I go to mediation even after a court application is issued?
Under the Family Procedure Rules 2010 which took effect on 6th April 2011 each party should attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAMS) prior to the issue of a court application except in exceptional circumstances. Mediation can however be commenced at any stage, even if court proceedings have already been issued and, if appropriate, the court process can be adjourned to allow mediation to continue in its place.