Last week was Family Mediation Week organised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC). The FMC is a not for profit organisation who maintain a professional register of family mediators. Family Mediation Week was an opportunity to raise awareness about family mediation and the benefits it can bring to separating families. Throughout the week, there were seminars and lectures from professional mediators, family solicitors and other family professionals.
Mediation is a method of dispute resolution which does not involve the court. The mediator is a neutral, impartial third party who will not take sides and whose role is to facilitate communication to help you work together in the future. The process tends to be faster, cheaper and less stressful than going to court.
Family professionals covered a variety of topics related to mediation including different types of mediation and how it can help in different situations. The events covered some important topics such as when mediation may be suitable in instances where there is domestic violence, supporting clients and children through the process, the voucher scheme and the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP).
Throughout the week, the MoJ Voucher Scheme was heavily promoted. The Scheme offers money towards mediation. Suitability is assessed at a MIAM, where a trained mediator will assess whether the issues you seek to resolve are suitable for mediation and if you meet the eligibility requirements. Issues suitable for the Scheme are disputes relating to children and disputes relating to financial matters where you are also involved in disputes relating to children.
The sessions also covered specific types of mediation and mediators which may be helpful in certain scenarios. There are mediators who specialise in areas such as children or domestic abuse. These mediators will have attended extra courses and have more training in the relevant areas to ensure that the process is as useful as possible. Mediators trained in domestic abuse will be able to help give victims a voice and will also be able to assess whether victims or perpetrators are in the right mind set for mediation to be effective. While mediators who specialise in child matters know how highlight the child’s voice and opinion and ensure that the child is kept as the focus of the session.
If you would like more information or advice about mediation, you can visit the FMC website or contact us on 0121 355 0011.