Mediation is a voluntary process | Woollcombe Yonge
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Woollcombe Yonge
Jan Santillo

Jan Santillo

Mediation is a voluntary process

In this series William Giles, the Mediator at Woollcombe Yonge, provides guidance as to how couples attending mediation can make the best of that mediation and give themselves the best possible opportunity to negotiate a settlement.

Mediation is a voluntary process

Mediation is voluntary. You cannot be obliged to attend. The Courts cannot in fact order you to attend.

If you wish to make an application to Court your only obligation is to attend the mediation information and assessment meeting. It is common for both parties to attend a separate mediation information and assessment meetings, or indeed intake meetings, so that the Mediator can assess suitability of mediation as a process to resolve the disputes that have arisen.

If mediation is not suitable, or one or other party does not wish to attend mediation, then a form can be signed by the Mediator so that an application can be made to Court. There are some exceptions to when the form needs to be signed, for example when there is domestic violence or an emergency issue in regard to children.

For those couples who wish to attend mediation, however, it is voluntary. They may wish to attend 1, 2 or more sessions in order to resolve their issues. The mediation will only take place because the couple have agreed to enter into mediation. This means that they wish to achieve and negotiate a settlement.

The process is a forward looking process and is very suitable for couples who wish to improve their communication after the issues that have arisen in the divorce, particularly where they will be co-parenting their children.

The Mediator is there to support and facilitate the process and the discussions. The Mediator will assist the couple in resolving their issues and will be alive to situations where there may be a bargaining imbalance between them.

Whilst there may be some discussion about the past difficulties, the mediation process is a forward looking process and the couples are encouraged to move away from focusing on past issues, which cannot be resolved going forward.

William Giles is a Family Law Solicitor, Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner with Woollcombe Yonge Solicitors. Our mediation practice is known as WY Mediation. For initial free discussion with Will Giles please telephone him on (01752) 660384.

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