Separation can be a traumatic and upsetting point in time, whether it is a trial period or is an arrangement that looks to be semi-permanent. The situation can be made even worse if it dissolves into arguments, resentment and bitterness and if the two parties can’t communicate properly. Often children are caught up in this and exposed to emotional extremes, and the end result inevitably feels like it will be divorce, which can be costly and even more stressful. And while divorce is still seen as the last resort, it doesn’t have to come to that, and mediation is a process through which many separating couples have found reconciliation and a way to find a workable solution.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process used by separating couples whereby an independent third party speaks with each partner, separately and together, to understand the reasons for separation and the basic arrangements involved in the partnership. The mediator gives both parties room to speak and think and doesn’t take sides, but has the aim of offering guidance and support to ensure that the separation is discussed rationally and without extreme emotions.

What is the purpose of mediation?

It is often the case that couples separate without a plan for what happens next. The decision has been made to live apart and this provides some breathing space for everyone. Over time it may become apparent that divorce is the only option, and mediation can help to process that. But it can also be used to avoid divorce.

The mediation process helps couples to understand where the relationship has broken down, and offers mechanisms for trying to resolve differences as a way to revive a relationship where it is retrievable. This requires the mediator to be highly skilled in showing empathy and understanding, but also experienced to identify areas where compromise and new arrangements can lead to reconciliation. This doesn’t always work of course, and mediation can be a way to help couples divorce on good terms and avoid the pain and trauma that often comes with it.

Couples sometimes stay together for the sake of children or for financial reasons, and a mediator can often identify where that isn’t likely to work, but can then use the process to establish a formal agreement in amicable circumstances.

What are the benefits of mediation?

  • Couples can deal with the possible consequences of divorce in a neutral and comfortable environment, also discussing the situation and the options in a rounded and balanced discussion, rather than in the hostile environment of the courts where a judge has control.
  • Couples can communicate effectively having been given time and space to breathe and gather their thoughts.
  • Mediation helps couples to find solutions which benefit all parties and which can form the basis of a formal agreement based on reconciliation and making the partnership work.
  • Mediation seeks to find amicable solutions and hence reduces the build-up of bitterness and spite.
  • Mediation is a flexible process which can be done with each party having one-to-one discussions with the mediator as well as joint discussion together. The mediator is highly skilled in assessing each situation on its individual merits and deciding how best to communicate to find amicable solutions.
  • Mediation can help couples find fair and workable solutions for arrangements for the children, financial support, dividing belongings and dividing assets such as property, businesses or saving accounts.

Contact Ison Harrison today to discuss your separation issues

The introduction of the ‘no-fault divorce’ has greatly reduced instances where divorce results in arguments and disputes, but at Ison Harrison we firmly maintain the belief that divorce is a last resort and that mediation can help couples work towards amicable solutions which prevent what can be a stressful, challenging and very expensive solution.

If you are a partner thinking about divorce and separation or already involved in a separation, contact our Family Law department at Ison Harrison and we can discuss your options with regards to mediation. The emotional distress of separation can be avoided with mediation, and a costly and traumatic divorce needn’t be the only solution, so let Ison Harrison help you resolve the situation in a more positive, structured and beneficial way for all parties.

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