Q. My ex has been refusing to let me see the kids since I began a new relationship. It’s just sheer spite on her part because the kids have met my new partner and they really like her. I thought perhaps I could take her to court but my mate at work says he went through something similar and he was told he would have to prove he’d tried to resolve the issue through mediation before he could go to Court. What exactly is mediation?
A. Mediation is the process whereby you and your former partner can sit down with a professional, independent and impartial mediator to discuss any issues that may need resolving following separation. Since April 2014 it has been mandatory that anyone wishing to make an application to the family Court must firstly attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
Don’t be put off by the term ‘Mediation’; it is not, as many people think, a type of counselling to try and get you and your ex back together. Mediation can be a very effective way of resolving disputes. It can also be a cheaper way to solve issues as it reduces legal expenses. Furthermore it has been proven time and again to reduce animosity between a separating couple.
Mediation is a voluntary process, however, and it does rely on the willingness of both parties to come to terms and reach settlement about issues that very often can cause emotions to run high. Information shared with the mediator is treated as confidential and most mediators try to effect arrangements that suit any relevant children and the parties. Any proposed settlement can be drawn up into a legally binding document by Solicitors and may be lodged with the Court. Larger law firms like GHP Legal offer in-house Mediation services.