This blog post is intended to educate couples in conflict about the role and benefits of mediation during the divorce process. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of how mediation Archway can assist you with child and financial issues, what family mediation Archway does and does not do, and how much it should cost in general. Additionally, we’ve included some helpful resources to assist parents in mitigating the effects of separation on their children – which can be life-changing.
How do I initiate the mediation Archway process and get things started?
To initiate mediation, one of the parties must complete an online self-referral form, unless their lawyer has already referred them.
If you submit an online referral form, you must also schedule and pay for an initial fixed-fee Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting colloquially referred to as a ‘MIAM’. This will then prompt the mediation Archway service to contact your former partner and invite them to book an initial separate assessment meeting as well.
Unless exempt, anyone contemplating filing a family law application in the United Kingdom must complete the MIAM. The protocol is designed to encourage as many couples as possible to consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation Archway and arbitration before proceeding to court, where doing so is safe and appropriate.
Mediation is not always appropriate; the mediator’s role at the MIAM is to provide information about all available dispute resolution options, to explain how mediation works in practice, and ascertain each party’s issues and concerns. A critical function of the mediator is to determine suitability through domestic abuse and safety screening.
If any red flags’ are raised, such as allegations of severe domestic abuse/coercive control or significant welfare/safety concerns that require investigation by a professional third party, the matter will be deemed unsuitable for mediation Archway. If the case is deemed unsuitable, a MIAM certificate will be issued to demonstrate that a MIAM was conducted in order to allow the case to proceed through the court system.
If the matter is deemed appropriate for mediation Archway and both parties agree to participate (mediation is voluntary in the UK and cannot be mandated), the parties will be invited to purchase their first joint 90-minute fixed fee mediation Archway session. They will be asked to purchase one of the sessions listed below from our services page, depending on the nature of the issues they need to consider and resolve:
- First joint session on mediation – all issues (finances and children).
- Children-only mediation, first joint session
- Mediation – limited to financial issues, first joint session
When you make a purchase, you will automatically receive a package of documents to assist participants in preparing for productive mediation Archway sessions. Additionally, the Agreement to Mediate contract will be sent for signature and return, attesting to the parties’ understanding of the fundamental principles of mediation Archway and the ground rules, as well as their commitment to the process.
Following that, a joint meeting will be scheduled. Prior to or during the initial meeting, the mediator will assist the separating couple in agreeing on an agenda/framework for them to work through in order of priority and in accordance with what is most important to them both.
Throughout the mediation Archway sessions, I will assist participants in the following ways:
- Clearly define the issues.
- Recognize points of agreement.
- Disagreements should be clarified.
- Consider your options.
- Offer practical advice and legal/other information.
Evaluate alternatives and the net effect/impact of any proposals in order to assist parties in reaching their own informed decisions.
Please contact us if you are ready to get started. We will then contact your ex-partner (unless you request that we do not) to encourage them to participate in the process by emphasising the benefits of family mediation, which include a more compassionate divorce, lower costs, greater control over the outcome, and a quicker resolution compared to court-based proceedings.
What is divorce mediation Archway?
Family mediation Archway is an out-of-court dispute resolution option facilitated by an impartial third party, the mediator, who assists the participants in communicating more effectively and making their own informed decisions about some or all of the separation issues.
For instance, when the divorce should occur, child custody arrangements, and what should happen to the family home – should it be sold or transferred to one party? Organizing the division of other assets such as pension investments and savings, as well as how to manage debts. These are just a few examples; each case is unique, and the parties will agree on the issues that should be discussed and resolved during mediation Archway by agreeing on an agenda/framework. Mediation is another term for “assisted negotiation.”
On April 6, 2011, the Government issued a pre-action protocol requiring anyone considering filing a court application in the family courts to attend a mediation Archway awareness session – Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, or ‘MIAM’ – prior to filing. When it is safe and appropriate to mediate, this protocol is in place to encourage more people to stay out of court and in control of their destiny.
This rule is subject to exceptions in cases of domestic violence/abuse or child protection concerns, in which case exemptions will apply.
You cannot be compelled to mediate; the process is entirely voluntary. If your case is suitable for mediation Archway and both you and your ex-partner agree to participate, the matter can be resolved through the mediation forum. The participants or the mediator may terminate the mediation at any time if it is deemed to be an abuse of the process, becomes too overwhelming, or the emotions become unmanageable.
Mediation is a confidential and legally protected process that enables participants to have candid discussions with one another in a safe and supportive environment, without fear of being bound by the solutions proposed by either party within the mediation forum. It’s an opportunity to be innovative and think outside the box in order to arrive at tailor-made solutions. The mediator has no decision-making or sanctioning authority; all decisions are made by the participants.
As the mediator in your case, I will bring over 27 years of professional experience and knowledge as a former practising family solicitor to the virtual mediation Archway table in order to provide pragmatic guidance and legal and/or other pertinent information on all aspects of the breakup in order to assist you in reaching your own informed decisions and resolutions.
Mediators are not permitted to give legal advice, and it is critical that the parties obtain legal advice from independent lawyers. Generally, it is with the assistance and support of attorneys that tentative terms agreed upon during the mediation process can be converted into formal and/or legally binding Court Orders.
What is the mediator’s role and purpose in a divorce?
The mediator’s purpose and role is to facilitate, support, and create a safe space for the divorcing or separating couple to discuss and explore issues related to their separation and/or divorce.
The mediator empowers and inspires participants to make their own informed choices and retain control of the outcome, rather than ceding that authority to a judge or bench of magistrates who have no connection to them or their children.
Throughout the mediation Archway process, the mediator will assist in the following ways:
- Define the problems
- Recognize points of agreement
- Distinguish points of contention
- Consider your options.
- Provide practical guidance and pertinent legal/other information.
Evaluate alternatives to assist you in reaching an agreement and in comprehending the net impact of the proposals made.
What are the advantages of divorce mediation Archway?
Assists divorcing couples in reclaiming control over the outcome and process
The parties’ communication can be significantly improved.
Mediation Archway is child and future-focused, assisting parties in letting go of the past or shelving conflicts that are no longer beneficial to them or their families in order to reach pragmatic child-centred resolutions.
It is less stressful than court appearances.
It enables the parties, their children, and future generations to live happier, healthier lives following separation and/or divorce.
Mediation is an effective way to break the cycle of dysfunctional families.
It is significantly less expensive than court proceedings or lawyer-led negotiations.
Mediation Archway is a more expedient process that results in earlier resolutions; the mediator moves at the participants’ pace.
In contrast to court-based proceedings, the parties can explore and agree on non-legal issues as well as legal rights and responsibilities, such as communication difficulties and boundary setting.
According to research, agreements reached during divorce mediation Archway are more likely to be maintained than court-imposed orders.