Welcome to our Family Mediation service

Embarking on a legal process isn’t always the best way to deal with a family matter, especially if you have children. We also believe that families should be given a choice about how they can resolve their differences.

 

That’s why we decided to extend our services to include Family Mediation.

 

Are you willing to try and work through your differences with your former partner? If so, Family Mediation provides a structured framework within which you can take ownership of your future.

 

Our Family Mediator can help you make decisions together about issues relating to parenting, property and money.

Family Mediation is an out-of-court solution which is;

 

  • less confrontational;
  • more cost effective; and
  • quicker than going to court.

 

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Family Mediation is fast becoming the preferred method for families to resolve and prevent disputes.

To find out more:

 

If you would like to know more about Carly, visit our Meet the Founder page here.

 

Please note that;

  • we cannot offer Family Mediation to you if Carly has acted as a legal representative for you or your former partner;
  • you will not receive legal advice in Family Mediation.

Family Mediation is an out-of-court solution which is;

 

  • less confrontational;
  • more cost effective; and
  • quicker than going to court.

 

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Family Mediation is fast becoming the preferred method for families to resolve and prevent disputes.

To find out more:

 

If you would like to know more about Carly, visit our Meet the Founder page here.

 

Please note that;

  • we cannot offer Family Mediation to you if Carly has acted as a legal representative for you or your former partner;
  • you will not receive legal advice in Family Mediation.

FAMILY MEDIATION FAQS

When you separate, it can be hard to talk to your former partner at all, let alone in a way that enables to you to reach an agreement about what is best for your family.

 

When people can’t reach an agreement, they often think that the legal / court process is the only option. However, that is not the case.

 

There are several out of court processes available and family mediation is one of them.

 

Family mediation is a voluntary process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you and your former partner work through issues together. The process is often used following a relationship breakdown to make decisions in respect of children and/or financial matters.

 

Family Mediation helps you stay in control and take ownership of the decisions that need to be made. Your mediator will ensure that the process is fair and even handed. No-one will make you do anything against your wishes.

 

Whether you are a parent or not, mediation can help you reach agreement about how to divide what there is, where you will live, and how your future finances will work.

 

If you are a parent, it is far better for your children for you and your former partner to work together to try to agree the way forward – but this can be hard to do on your own. Family mediation provides you with a safe and supported structure to sort out the best arrangements for your children, taking into account what is going to be important for them as they grow up. It also provides you with the space and time necessary to think about what is most important for your children, and for the whole family.

 

Mediators work with separating couples in ways that are flexible and tailor-made for each situation.

Family mediation is a flexible process and covers a myriad of issues usually relating to children and/or financial matters.

 

If children are involved, even though you may cease to be partners, you will always be parents, and we believe you are the best people to decide your children’s future.

 

Typically;

 

  • parents discuss topics such as;
    • where the children will live;
    • how children will share their time between parents;
    • how much children will see members of their extended family;
    • how parents will communicate with one another in the future about their children and other matters;
    • schooling or other specific issues;
    • financial provision for children during their minority and if/when they go to university.

 

  • couples in a divorce or separation scenario discuss topics such as;
    • how property, pensions, other financial assets and debts will be divided;
    • how expenses and ongoing obligations will be met in the interim and longer term;
    • whether any agreements are to be formalised in a Separation Agreement or in a Consent Order in divorce proceedings;
    • amending (or varying) previous agreements or Court Orders upwards or downwards due to a change in circumstances.

 

Mediation can also be helpful when arrangements you’ve made before need to change, particularly as your children grow up.

Family Mediation can benefit;

 

  • separating or separated couples, with or without children;
  • married or unmarried couples;
  • co-parents or parents who wish to co-parent well/better;
  • same-sex couples, whether or not in a civil partnership;
  • teenagers who are finding it difficult to get on with parents; and
  • members of the extended family, e.g. grandparents who may be finding it difficult to see their grandchildren.

Family mediation works for many people, but it isn’t right for everyone.

 

It may not work if:

 

  • someone’s safety is at risk, for example, where there has been domestic abuse or child abuse;
  • your former partner does not wish to attend mediation (it is a voluntary process and both clients must agree to engage);
  • your dispute is about financial issues and there is a refusal/reluctance to share financial information;
  • you don’t know where your former partner is and cannot contact them;
  • your mediator thinks mediation will not be suitable for you.

 

Family mediation is also not appropriate if;

 

  • Carly has acted for you or your former partner as a legal representative;
  • you are looking for couples/relationship therapy to work through issues in your relationship with a view to staying together. In which case, relationship counselling would be a more appropriate route.

 

Your mediator will help you to decide is mediation is right for you.

Mediators are trained to:

 

  • listen and help you both work out what must be dealt with;
  • discuss what your options might be and what might work best for the future;
  • make sure you both have chance to speak and be heard;
  • provide any information needed to help your discussions;
  • tell you when you might need further independent advice on matters such as pensions;
  • ensure decisions are made jointly, are fair for both of you, for any children involved, and for your family circumstances.

 

Mediators can;

 

  • minimise conflict;
  • improve family life;
  • help you avoid long, painful, and expensive legal battles.

 

When you reach a set of proposals or decisions, the mediator will put it in writing and make sure you’re both clear about what it means.

 

The mediator will explain what needs to happen to make any decisions between you legally binding.

A family mediator will not;

 

  • take sides;
  • interrogate you or your former partner;
  • decide who is right or wrong in any scenario;
  • give legal advice; or
  • have discussions in confidence with either client once the process has commenced (fairness is the bedrock of a successful mediation).

Now, if you need help sorting things out.

 

If you’ve just separated, been separated for a while, or if court proceedings have been issued or determined, mediation can still help.

 

Whatever stage you’re at, if you have a family related issue, mediation is an excellent option to consider.

Step 1 – Both make contact with Confidante

 

Both potential clients must contact the mediator separately and confirm their wish to try family mediation.

 

To contact Carly click here

 

 

Step 2 – Complete the Preliminary Intake Form

 

Both potential clients must complete the Preliminary Intake Form.

 

 

Step 3 – Individual meetings with Mediator

 

Once the Preliminary Intake Forms have been completed and returned, the mediator will arrange an individual meeting with each person (this meeting is confidential as the process has not started at this stage).

 

Only if each person agrees to proceed after their individual meeting and the mediator agrees that mediation is a safe and appropriate process, the mediator will arrange a joint meeting.

 

 

Step 4 – Initial joint meeting with Mediator

 

At the joint meeting the mediator will go through the Agreement to Mediate and if the agreement is signed by everyone (including the mediator), the mediation process will begin.

 

Please see an example of the Agreement to Mediate on our Blogs and Resources page in the Mediation section.

 

 

Step 5Mediation sessions

 

Mediation sessions take place.

 

Each session usually lasts 90 minutes and, depending on what you need to sort out, three to five meetings are usually required to come to agreement.

 

If the issues involve finances, both clients will be expected to go through a financial disclosure process.

 

 

Step 6 – Decision documentation

 

If decisions are reached, the mediator will draft documentation.  For example, a Parenting Plan if the decisions relate to child arrangements or a Memorandum of Understanding and Open Financial Statement if the decisions relate to financial matters.

 

The mediator will explain the appropriate next steps to ensure that any decisions are recoded in legally binding documents.

If decisions are reached during the process, the mediator will prepare documentation reflecting those decisions.

 

If the process involves decisions in respect of financial matters, the mediator will prepare an Open Financial Statement (which sets out the financial position) and a Memorandum of Understanding (which sets out the decisions reached).

 

The Memorandum of Understanding is “without prejudice” which means that it cannot be shown to the Court.  For the decisions in the Memorandum of Understanding to be made open and legally binding, they will need to be drafted into a Consent Order (in a divorce context).

 

Each client will be encouraged to seek independent legal advice (see also section below “Do I need legal advice and if so, when?”).

 

If the process involves decisions in respect of children and there are no proceedings before the Court, the mediator will prepare a Parenting Plan (although this is not a legally binding agreement).   If there are proceedings before the Court and decisions are reached as to the matters in dispute, the decisions can be drafted into a Consent Order by the clients’ respective lawyers.

If mediation is no longer suitable or has not been successful, your mediator will signpost you to alternative processes.

 

If you reach an impasse in mediation on a discrete point or points but wish to continue with mediation, your mediator may signpost you to alternative processes to work through the issue in point.  If clients resolve the issue(s), they can resume mediation to finalise a set of decisions.

Most people going through mediation find it helpful to have legal advice so that they can understand their legal position as they work through the issues.  Seeking legal advice alongside the mediation process also helps to avoid decisions unravelling at a later date.

 

The mediator can give you information about local family lawyers but cannot act for either of you as your family lawyer in the case going forward.

If your situation changes and the arrangements aren’t working, you can go back to the mediator to change the original agreement.

 

If you’ve made an agreement legally binding and somebody doesn’t follow it, you should consider whether it can be sorted out with the help of a mediator. If not, it can be enforced through the courts.

Family mediation is often significantly cheaper than the traditional lawyer/court route.  For more information about costs, contact Carly here.

Hi! I’m Carly James, a family law specialist and Family Mediator in Jersey. If you’d like to know more about Family Mediation, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

 

+44 (0) 7700 702 266
Carly@confidante.law
PO Box 110, Jersey JE4 9QB

Get in touch

Get in touch

Did you know that Carly is now a trained Family Mediator?

To find out more about Family Mediation click here or schedule a call here.