I sometimes review my career in two halves, the first as a family lawyer and the second as a lawyer mediator. Training to be a mediator has changed the way I work as a lawyer and they way in which I approach family law disputes generally . Mediation isn't right for every situation but it can have a fundamental impact on a child or person's life if issues can be resolved amicably without court involvement. I recommend mediation to all of my clients (where appropriate) and support them through the mediation process. Often there can be frustrations where a client feels the mediator has sided with one person or has not moved things on quickly enough. As a mediator, I can explain why it might feel like that or why the mediator may have taken the steps they did or didn't.
I was thinking about this recently when I was asked how I stay impartial in mediation. My belief is that giving information and exploring options does not require anyone to "pick a side", unlike litigation which is always looking to achieve the best outcome for your client, which is unlikely to be the best outcome for their spouse.
Mediation offers a safe, without prejudice forum to deal with the practical and legal consequences of separation and family breakdown. This can include divorce, financial issues and arrangements for children. As I am a solicitor I am able to give legal information, which is different from legal advice as I am not saying what people should do or what is best for them. I am often asked "what do you think we should do?" in mediations and answer is always"whatever you think is right".
If you would like more information about mediation please let do not hesitate to get in touch.
Mediators are trained to help resolve disputes over all issues faced by separating couples, or specific issues such as arrangements for any children. A mediator will meet with you and your partner together and will identify those issues you can’t agree on and help you to try and reach agreement. Mediators are neutral and will not take sides, so they cannot give advice to either of you. They will usually recommend that you obtain legal advice alongside the mediation process and will guide you as to when this should happen. However, Resolution trained lawyer mediators will provide general legal information to both of you within the mediation if this is appropriate. Some are qualified to consult with children in mediation.