How to keep family breakdown disputes out of the courtroom

7 January, 2015
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Mediation has become an increasingly popular choice for separated couples who wish to discuss the custody/living arrangements of the children or money matters, without the expense and acrimony of court proceedings. Mediation involves you either being in the same room with your ex or in separate rooms (known as shuttle mediation).

During January we always have an increase in new client enquiries; Christmas is over with the children going back to school and clients want a fresh start or just want to get on with finalising their separation. Some of our clients want to start court proceedings (as sometimes this is the only way) when they are in dispute with their ex about the children or are having difficulties agreeing financial matters.

Before an application can be made to court, you are now required to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The purpose of the meeting is to find out about mediation and whether it is an alternative way to resolve your difficulties, rather than going straight to court. The court wants to know that you have considered mediation first.

At a MIAM, we will explain what your options are, how mediation works, the pros and cons of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, and the likely costs and timeframe. We will also assess whether your case is suitable for mediation. Our mediator, Kate Lovegrove, charges £100 plus VAT for a MIAM.

Mediation gives impartial guidance to help couples reach decisions about the future. The clients make the decisions, not the mediator. Many of our clients have found mediation to be the cheapest and most effective way of resolving disputes. All of our mediators at Cripps Pemberton Greenish are also experienced practising family solicitors who understand the law and have an empathetic approach.