Family Law / Mediation Changes – Talk is Cheap-er

A significant change in the law took place on the 6th April 2011. It is now the case that any party wishing to resolve matrimonial financial matters, must endeavour to engage in Mediation with their former partner/spouse, before even contemplating any financial or Children’s Court proceedings.

Effectively, the law has changed so as to make attendance at Mediation compulsory. It is the case that even before the law changed, Solicitors encouraged Clients to attend Mediation in the hope of resolving matters without the intervention of the Court. There are several reasons as to why this is still a more positive route than traditional litigation.

  • Your costs may be significantly reduced by attending Mediation, as opposed to fighting the matter at Court.
  • Secondly, it is preferable that you and your former spouse/partner are able to talk through your issues and have some level of communication. If successful, Mediation will help the two of you to achieve this.
  • Thirdly, once you issue Court proceedings with regard to resolution of the finances, you are asking a District Judge to impose an Order concerning your very personal matters. The chances are that neither you nor your former spouse/partner will be completely happy with what a Judge orders. A final resolution is more likely to work if you and your former spouse/partner have worked through the process together, leading up to that agreement.

In terms of speed, Mediation can achieve a quick turn around on the finances, and resolve children’s issues in an amicable fashion. However, Mediation cannot put in place the final documentation which the Court requires, so as to make everything full and binding. Therefore, once you have achieved an agreement through Mediation, you will need to revert to your respective Solicitors so that the necessary legal documentation can be drawn up, and papers lodged with the Court for approval of the Judge.