Mediation isn’t for everyone going through a divorce, however National Family Mediation report that the number of calls they’ve taken have more than doubled in the past year from taking 3,400 calls in 2015 compared to 1,600 calls in the same period in comparison to 2014.
The mediation provider notes that the spike in calls corresponds with figures from the court advisory service CAFCASS which show the number of new private law cases between April 2014 and March this year fell by almost a third, to 34,218.
‘Couples are increasingly self-researching their options, and this is reflected in the huge increase in calls to dispute resolution specialists,’ she said. ‘Our experience tells us people are cogitating, calculating and considering their next move. Our experts are helping more families in crisis than ever before and it’s a challenge to meet the soaring demand.’
But government statistics released last week show fewer divorcing couples are turning to mediation than before legal aid changes came in effect in 2013.
But is mediation always suitable?
It’s important to note that mediation in divorce proceedings is just a forum for discussion. Mediation is only useful if the parties are cooperative and honest with one another.
Prior to any financial settlement upon divorce it is paramount that there is a full and frank disclosure process. If your Partner is likely to be evasive or dishonest then mediation in the first instance is not advisable whatsoever. A Mediator cannot order a person to disclose certain financial information but a Court can. Do also bear in mind that you can only ask a Court to order disclosure of financial information once you have a pronouncement of Decree Nisi by a Court and therefore discussions and agreements about financial matters certainly isn`t advisable unless everything is open, honest and amicable between the parties. If an agreement is reached in mediation then the summary of mediation is not legally binding however it forms a basis for a financial Consent Order to be drawn up by a Solicitor and then an application is made to Court for a Judge to consider the fairness of the financial order prior to it being approved and sealed by a Court.
Mediation is not suitable for people who may be in fear of their former partner or, in our experience, when there is a very uneven financial footing between the parties.
Please contact us to speak to an expert Family Law Solicitor regarding divorce/mediation/financial matters today.