Myths About Mediation
Recently there has been an increase in the media coverage of mediation, for example the Guardian recently carried out a poll on whether mediation should be compulsory and the presenters of Loose Women have also been discussing it. This increase in the profile of mediation, is in part because it is the government’s intention that as of April 2014 it will be compulsory for you to attend an individual, introductory meeting with a mediator before you can apply to Court to deal with the finances and children. This meeting is designed to provide information on whether mediation can assist in your circumstances.
There is currently confusion as to what mediation is, what it can do, and what this change will mean and so to help clarify matters we have considered the myths:
- Mediation is not relationship counselling. A mediator does not assist you in working to improve or rebuild your relationship.
- If you and your partner have been able to reach an agreement between you it is not necessary to attend mediation. Mediation is there to assist people who need help in dicussing the issues, options and reaching an agreement.
- Mediators are not all lawyers or social workers but come from a wide range of backgrounds.
- A Mediator who is also a lawyer cannot be instructed as both your lawyer and Mediator.
- Mediators cannot give you advice, including legal advice. They do however have legal knowledge and can share information about the law as well as suggest seeing your lawyer alongside mediation.
- A signficant proportion of Legal Aid was abolished in April 2013, however Legal Aid is available for Mediation.
- If you reach an agreement through mediation you can also receive Legal Aid to instruct a lawyer.
- The governments proposal is to make it compulsory for the person wishing to make an application to Court to go to a meeting with a mediator first. This is so you can find out more about mediation. If after this meeting you don’t wish to proceed with mediation you can make your application to Court.
- Under the government’s plan it will not be compulsory for the person responding to possible Court action to attend the introductory meeting.
- If there is a history of domestic abuse, you may be exempt from attending mediation.
- Mediation itself remains a voluntary process.
- Research shows the mediation is much more cost effective and is quicker in finding solutions than going to Court.