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Family Mediation

Shepherd Harris & Co Mediation Service has been introduced to meet the growing demand of clients who wish to resolve any dispute in respect of their relationship breakdown in an amicable way.

To download our Mediation referral from please visit the Downloads Page

What is Mediation?

Family Mediation is a process by which couples, or any other family members agree to the appointment of a neutral third party (the Mediator) to assist them in reaching their own solutions whichmay relate to:

  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Children’s issues
  • Property and Financial issues
  • Any other issues and arrangements thatmay need to be made following thebreakdown of a relationship.

 

Mediation can take place whether or not the participants to Mediation are legally represented or not. Mediation can take place at any time before or after separation and whether or not legal proceedings have commenced. Mediation is a voluntary process where the focus is to provide a safe and secure environment to help you reach informed decisions by negotiation. Mediation is not a counselling service or therapy nor is it a form ofmarriage guidance.

What is the role of the Mediator?

The Family Mediator’s role is to facilitate the negotiation process impartially. The Mediator has no authority to make decisions on behalf of either of you and will not provide legal advice to you but will provide information when necessary. Each participant to Mediation may take their own independent legal advice at any time before, during or after the Mediation session(s). The Mediator is there to assist in gathering relevant information to enable Mediation to be effective and will manage and control the entire process subject to your individual needs and situation. You will however be responsible for making the decisions about the content and focus of the Mediation sessions and the outcome.

What are the benefits of Mediation?

  • It is usually less costly than other methods of resolving disputes such as negotiation through Solicitors or Court Proceedings.
  • It will enable you to explore options and to make informed decisions concerning your futures and the future of your children as opposed to a decision being made for you by a Court that you may both be unhappy with.
  • It may improve relations and communication between you both and reduce tension and hostility.
  • If there are children involved, it will demonstrate to them that you,as their parents are working together to resolve matters in their best interests.
  • All discussions which take place in Mediation are “without prejudice” and are completely confidential so, if for any reason,Mediation does not work for you, those discussions may not be disclosed to anyone not involved in Mediation (except to your legal advisors) or to the Court if Court Proceedings subsequently become necessary.
  • The discussions that take place between you during Mediation and any agreements reached are not legally binding.
  • But, if either of you feel that it is important that the decisions you make and any agreement reached should be legally binding then the agreement can be formalised into such a document by your legal advisors.

The Mediation Process

If you are interested in Mediation, the first step will be for us to contact the person with whom you wish to mediate and to invite each of you separately to a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to:

  • Explain how Mediation works
  • Assess whether Mediation is a suitable process for you and discuss other options which may be available to you so that you can make an informed decision about how you wish to proceed and whether Mediation is right for you.
  • Discuss those matters which you would like to address in Mediation.
  • Discuss the likely cost of Mediation.

 

Following the initial meetings and, assuming you are each willing to mediate and your case is considered to be suitable for Mediation, you will be asked to sign an Agreement to Mediate.This is a document recording that each of you and the Mediator, consent to following the Mediation Code of Practice.

Each Mediation session usually lasts for up to 1 ½ hours. Usually 3-4 sessions, are required to enable you to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Once the Mediation process is completed, the outcome will be recorded by the Mediator in a document known as a “Memorandum of Understanding” and, where there are financial matters involved, an “Open Financial Statement.” is also provided.

If you choose to, you may then each take those documents to your lawyers for the legal formalities to be complied with.

The service is:

Confidential

 Nothing you say is passed on to anyone without your consent. However, should there be concerns regarding harm to others, particularly children, this will have to be reported as will any indication of fraudulent financial activity.

Privileged

 What you say during mediation cannot be quoted in any future proceedings.

Without Prejudice

 Decisions reached during mediation are not binding unless and until they are implemented in a legal agreement between yourselves or a court order, i.e a consent order can be lodged at court, requesting the court to make an order in the same terms as the proposals reached at mediation.

Our Mediators

Our Mediator, Miss Tazeen Khaliq is an All Issues mediator and have been trained by Resolution, an organisation which is committed to resolving family disputes in a non confrontational and constructive manner.

Tazeen Khaliq

a Solicitor with over 20 years experience in Family Law. She is an accredited specialist in Private Children Law, Violence in the Home and Child Abduction. She is also a Member of Reunite and a Collaborative Lawyer.

Next steps…

For a confidential and no-obligation chat about our Family Mediation Services please contact Tazeen Khaliq on: 020 8363 8341 or contact Mediation@Shepherd-Harris.co.uk.

We can help you resolve your disputes in a dignified way.

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