Mediation is a way of resolving any legal dispute, whether concerning a divorce, finances or children, without going to court. Because of this, it can be a cheaper, more amicable and less stressful way of reaching an agreement.
How does mediation work?
You and your partner will meet with a mediator or solicitor-mediator only – you will not normally have legal representation at the meetings. A mediator is an independent and impartial third party. They’re not there to represent either of you or give you advice. Instead, they help you and your partner talk through your issues and disputes between you, and try to come to an agreement that’s fair and appropriate.
The mediation meetings give you and your partner the chance to discuss everything that’s relevant to your dispute, whether that’s how you’re going to bring up your kids and what school they’re going to go to, or how you’re going to divide your assets and what will happen to the house. Your mediator will encourage you both to approach each dispute in an amicable way with the view to settling it between yourselves without the cost and stress of court proceedings.
Sometimes, disagreements can be resolved quickly and easily, while other issues need more time and discussion. This is where the skill of the mediator comes in. They’ll suggest ways forward, brainstorm ideas and set out scenarios to try to keep you focussed on the issue at hand and help you come to an agreement.
Once you’ve settled and reached agreement, your mediator will help you draw up a final document that sets out the agreement you’ve reached.
Gosschalks has three skilled mediators who are experienced in Family Law. So, no matter what your dispute, we have the experience to help you come to an agreement which can become a legally binding court order and give you absolute certainty .
How do you apply for mediation?
You can refer yourself for mediation or be referred from another law firm. Although it’s voluntary at the moment, mediation is being increasingly encouraged by the courts. In many cases, you have to try mediation before you can issue anything to court. And as from April 2014, it’s likely to be compulsory in all Family Law disputes relating to children and finances.
Is legal aid available for mediation?
Yes, legal aid is still available for mediation but not for court disputes. As long as you’re financially eligible, you can apply for legal aid to help you cover the cost of mediation. You’ll have to complete a means assessment when you apply to check your eligibility.
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