It may not be easy but I've seen very tricky issues resolved using the methods I advocate...

Jo O'Sullivan

Mediation

Mediation and separating and separated couples

Anyone involved in family proceedings is aware that the use of mediation provides an alternative to going to court to resolve their dispute.

The Pre-action Protocol requires privately-funded parties who intend to issue family proceedings to attend a meeting to learn about family mediation, unless certain exemptions apply.  This is known as a MIAM's meeting (Mediation, Information and Assessment Meeting).  I can meet with you individually or as a couple.  Often when couples hear about mediation they use it as a mechanism to bring about agreement rather than court. In the alternative, I can issue a form called an FM1 which informs the court that you have attended a meeting and that mediation is not being pursued; thereafter some might issue an application at court.

If mediation is chosen I can help you and your partner work things out together using mediation. I will help you identify the issues of conflict and help you resolve them, whilst remaining impartial. As a mediator I cannot act as your legal representative.

Once you have formulated an agreement you will need to give it legal effect. As I bring with me my experience as a specialist family law solicitor to the mediation I will encourage you to reach an agreement that will be legally enforceable.

I offer mediation sessions on a Saturday between 9am and 3pm and every weekday evening.

What is mediation?

It’s a process to help resolve disputes. I will meet with you and your partner together and will identify those issues you can’t agree on and help you to try and reach agreement. I give lots of legal information to help you make decisions.

How does mediation work?

I will speak to you briefly about the process to ensure you understand how it works. I will then contact your partner and have the same conversation with them. It’s up to you whether you want me to do this with you face to face or on the telephone.

The first mediation meeting

You and your partner will then meet with me and outline the issues you need to resolve. If you have children then I will focus on them first and check to see how arrangements are working out. We might also talk about how to provide your financial information, fix the date or dates of future meetings and/or raise anything which is of immediate concern to either or both of you.

Working out the details

Further meetings will be scheduled at which we may need to consider options for the children. You may also exchange financial information and consider possible resolutions. I may suggest other help, such as financial advice or support for your children. Between meetings you may wish to meet with your lawyer for advice.

Finalising the proposals

Once you have proposals you both find acceptable l will prepare a summary of these together with a summary of the financial information which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your lawyers. After you have both received legal advice those lawyers will (where appropriate) convert the summary into a legally binding document and carry out any necessary implementation.

Please call me to discuss mediation or any of the other options I offer. Call me on 01273 206 720 or 07780 676 212 or email me on jo@osullivanfamilylaw.com.