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Supported mediation, also known as lawyer-supported mediation or lawyer-assisted mediation, is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) utilised to discuss and attempt to settle disputes in relation to parenting issues and division of family assets, following divorce, civil dissolution, and relationship breakdown.
Each party appoints their own legal representative (which is usually Counsel which your Solicitor will instruct) to provide independent and confidential advice on the law and the implications of proposed agreements discussed at mediation. On the day, all attendees will join the meeting either in person or virtually, and the mediator will explain how the session will proceed. Both parties, and their respective legal advisors, will sign an "agreement to mediate" which records the parties' intention and willingness to attempt to use mediation to come to an agreement.
Anything said and agreed at mediation is on a "without prejudice" basis, meaning that it cannot be referred to in later negotiations if you are unable to reach an agreement during mediation. If you reach an agreement, it will become legally binding only when formally drawn up and approved by the legal representatives and signed by both parties.
Mediation is almost always significantly cheaper than contested court proceedings as the mediator's fees will be fixed according to the length of the session booked. It also avoids the delay of waiting for a hearing on the disputed issues to be listed by the court. The input of a trained mediator, whose remit is to support open and amicable communication, can minimise conflict and anxiety allowing you to focus on pursuing practical outcomes rather than on the emotional impact of your situation. It can also pave the way for more effective communication between the parties as the matter progresses.
Manor Law is a member of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who are committed to working with individuals to resolve issues and disputes in a constructive and non-confrontational manner. As such we encourage our clients to consider whether supported mediation would be beneficial in moving their case towards a satisfactory resolution and if this approach is appropriate for your individual circumstances.
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles