There are a number of different routes to mediation depending on a couple’s individual circumstances.
- Some couples are already aware of mediation services and may approach a mediator directly when considering a separation to begin the process of discussing how they will divide assets, arrange maintenance, organise contact and so on.
- A solicitor will discuss options including mediation and may refer you to a mediator.
- A judge may ask both parties to consider what is termed ‘alternative dispute resolution’ which includes mediation when an application is made to the court.
In fact, in most cases, before you apply to the court in a family matter, you will be referred to a mediator for what is called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
There are obviously cases when mediation is not appropriate. In cases involving domestic violence, for example, mediation would usually not be recommended.
The single most important factor which determines whether mediation is suitable, however, is both people’s willingness to engage in the process.