Monday, January 18, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
Taking place between 18 – 22 January 2021 is Family Mediation Week. The aim is to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help separating families reach an amicable agreement about family-based issues. Many couples going through a separation or a divorce do not know that mediation is an option for them.
Until working at Samuel Phillips Law, I had very little exposure to Mediation and was not fully aware of the practicality and effectiveness of the process. For context, I am currently 14 months into my two-year training contract with the Crown Prosecution Service and I have been seconded to Samuel Phillips Law for the past 8 months to gain experience in Family Law and Employment Law to satisfy my period of recognised training.
I have been working closely with Senior Partner and Head of Family, Jennifer Goldstein. Jenny is an accredited Family Mediator and I was thrilled when she invited me to shadow a Mediation session. I observed first-hand how a complicated family dispute can be broken down and worked through professionally and amicably without the need to step inside a courtroom.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a commonly used method for dispute resolution and is increasingly popular here in the UK, Australia and USA. As well as being prominent in the commercial and construction world, Mediation is used to resolve financial and children issues that arise from family separation. Families can negotiate about future arrangements with the assistance of a neutral third party – the Mediator. The Mediator will not tell parties what to do, but they will facilitate communication and help parties reach their own agreements.
In Family Mediation, the main goal is to reach an amicable agreement which suits everyone involved, whilst avoiding the costs and stress that comes with court. It allows the family themselves to have control of the outcome. The agreement can then be formalised into a binding legal agreement, without the need for either party to go to court.
- The family decides their own outcome. There will be no Judge who makes the decision, the family remains in control.
- Issues can be resolved within 2 – 6 months. This is a huge benefit considering the current global pandemic that we are going through. There is a massive backlog in the courts currently, which has added further strain to the system.
- Mediation can be done virtually. Again, courts are struggling due to the social distancing and shielding restrictions that are currently in place which have inevitably caused further delays. Mediation can be set up remotely, as long as everyone has a compatible device and a good connection there should be no problem.
- Agreed solutions cause less problems going forward and are shown as more likely to be sustainable outcomes.
- Costs are contained and significantly less than what they would be if the case went through the court system.
Mediation at Samuel Phillips
Here at Samuel Phillips, we offer a private Mediation option which is led by our extremely experienced Senior Partner, Jennifer Goldstein.
The Mediation can cover financial and/or children issues. We will act impartially, fairly and use our skills to facilitate discussions, either together in the same room or in separate rooms on a shuttle basis. Clients will attend entirely on a voluntary basis without a lawyer; however they are able to access independent legal advice alongside the process if they wish to do so.
Each person will attend an initial individual session to ensure that the case is suitable for a mediated solution. This will last around 45 minutes and will enable each side to explain the situation to the Mediator and for the Mediator to explain the process. The Mediator will then inform both parties if the case is suitable and then arrange the actual sessions which will generally last between 1.5 – 2 hours.
We currently charge £150 plus VAT for the initial individual session and £250 plus VAT each for the join sessions and written summaries which are drafted after each session. The number of sessions depends on the individual case but most agreements will be reached in 2 – 3 sessions.
All enquiries can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0191 255 0220.