Family mediation has many advantages over other ways of resolving issues surrounding separation and divorce. These include:
Control of the situation
Family mediation recognises that you are the experts about your own family – it leaves the decision-making to you and your partner, giving you much more say in your future than having the decision made for you by a judge.
Less stressful and combative process
Mediation is about communication and openness rather than the potential hostility of legal negotiations – a trip to court is taxing for everyone, while mediation aims to reduce conflict between you and your partner so you can make decisions together. And, of course, the better the two of you are able to cooperate, the easier the separation is likely to be for your children.
With significant cuts to legal aid for litigation in recent years, getting legal representation and taking your case to court can be expensive as well as traumatic. Legal aid is still available for family mediation, though, so if you’re struggling financially you may be able to work through your issues with a mediator for free or at a reduced cost.
Even if you aren’t eligible for legal aid, mediation still tends to be cheaper than litigation. According to figures from the National Audit Office, the average cost per mediation client was £675 in 2012, compared with £2,823 per client for cases going to court.
Speed of proceedings
Solving issues through mediation is generally much faster than going through court: 110 days on average, against nearly 450 for non-mediated separations or divorces. The time the mediation will take very much depends on the individual case, but with the average mediated resolution nearly four times shorter than the average court separation, mediation is a much quicker route to a solution.