One of the main advantages of choosing Mediation is that it allows both parties to feel that they have more control over their separation. It can provide a feeling of finality and ownership over the decisions that the couples have made together and feel they can invest in. It is both time and cost effective, which can mean a lot less strain on the family unit, particularly where children are involved, and less time taken to finalise matters.
A concern that some couples have when considering mediation is that once they have come to an agreement regarding children or finances, circumstances may change, meaning the original agreement is no longer a viable option. That is always a possibility, in which case agreements can be re-negotiated, whether through further mediation or direct discussion and agreement between the parties. Children arrangements in particular will always evolve as children grow and their needs and wants develop, and a constructive relationship between parents in the original mediation may help the parties in the future to adapt and come to terms with change. Where the agreement has been made into a binding court order, there is still likely to be room for re-negotiation especially in relation to maintenance payments and issues around income.
Experience shows that, where both parties are willing, talking openly with a former partner about the practical matters of the separation is likely to help reduce tension and hostility. If a couple can communicate openly it often leads to more informed decisions being made, which can be of benefit to both.
But mediation does not work for everyone, of course: there are circumstances where mediation is not a suitable option. Some couples will not meet the criteria for mediation:-
- Where there has been domestic violence in the relationship
- Where there has been suspected or alleged child abuse
- Where one partner is refusing to consider mediation as an option