John explained how the adversarial nature of divorce is based on recent history but how this no longer needs to be the way the process is carried out. He spoke of a successful mediation where a father had not seen his children for 3 years, but through using mediation techniques even at the late stage of the case being handled by the courts, a clever resolution was found.
The edicts from the court were in practice unrealistic, asking the father to write letters to his small children as his only way of contact with them – yet the poor father had no way of knowing what to write because he had no knowledge of the daily lives of his children.
This whole process was taking a very long time with long gaps between court dates, which was leaving his children feeling that he didn’t care about them as he was struggling to know what to write to them.
Through mediation, the couple learned to communicate, and the father got to know more about his children which meant that he was then able to have something meaningful to write in the letters.
Mediation is known to help parties reach an agreement which is suitable to meet their own particular needs rather than a court directing what will happen in theirs and their children’s lives. Families know what will work best for them so it makes sense that they decide how their lives will move forward.
There are also financial benefits of going through mediation as opposed to family court. For instance, going to court very likely means taking your solicitors with you which is a very expensive process as it maybe lengthy and may entail more than one visit.
Also, the adversarial nature of the the family court route means that more likely than not, there maybe long-term damage done within the family and beyond, demolishing any existing relationship – intentionally or not.
Some people are nervous about mediation and benefit from attending an initial MIAMS session where you learn about how it works and what you can expect from the process. Even people who are dead against it are usually acting out of fear of the unknown.
“My recent experience has been that even if the parties or one of them doesn’t think mediation will help or work, they are surprised once they have attended at how helpful it ends up being. It is, of course, now a statutory requirement (at least a MIAMS is), therefore the best that can happen is that they reach a suitable compromise between them enabling each party to move on with their lives.” says Wendy
So, divorce mediation vs family court? You decide.