The Benefits of Using a Lawyer Mediator

So you’re looking for a mediator? No? Well if you are separating, divorcing or thinking of applying for an order in the family court,  you should be. Mediation has the potential to save you time and money and even avoid court proceedings at all (depending on your situation). So if you are going to go to mediation, how do you find the right mediator for you and what are the benefits of using a Lawyer Mediator?

Lawyer Mediators know the real bottom line

Since it became a requirement for people wanting to apply for an order in respect of children or finances to attend a MIAM (find out more about MIAMs), the number of Family Mediators has increased significantly. The number of calls to helplines has also increased. Jane Robey CEO of National Family Mediation reports that from March to June 2015, calls to their help line rose by 1600 on the same period in 2014. But does it really matter if your mediator is a lawyer or not?

Mediation isn’t just about the law, and mediators can’t give you legal advice, whether they are lawyers or not. Mediators are always impartial, giving legal information but not advice. There are many excellent mediators who are not trained or practising lawyers. It really depends on you, and what you want. The real advantage of using a lawyer mediator is that they know the real bottom line for you and this can support you when mediation gets tough. Whilst mediation is primarily about communication and joint decision making, there’s no getting away from the fact that the law will be considered in your mediation. This is because mediators will support you in your discussions within the legal framework in which you live. Understanding the law and how it is applied keeps you focused. You see, boundaries are important in any negotiation. You need to appreciate what’s possible for you and also understand where your boundaries are within that.

Lawyer mediators – experience, not just acquired  knowledge

All Family Mediators are trained in the legal information that they share. Mediators spend time learning about the law and how it applies to Children and Financial Orders.  But there’s nothing like having been at the coal face yourself. What non-lawyer mediators know in theory, lawyer mediators do in their day to day legal lives. They know the local lawyer that your partner is most likely using. They know the Judge or the Magistrates’ who will hear your case. Don’t underestimate the importance of this knowledge. It really does make a difference. It helps your mediator keep you focused, and allows for reality testing at a much deeper level. There’s little point in the two of you reaching an agreement that a court wouldn’t ratify.

Lawyer Mediators – Proposals drafted ready for a Consent Order

At the end of your mediation, your agreements will be drawn up in a document known as a Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum of Understanding is a promise between the two of you about what you want to happen. For people who have never been married, the court will assume that you will abide by your MOU because they are your agreements. The No Order  Principle applies. The No Order Principle means that the starting point for the court is not to make any order unless it is in the best interests of the children to do so; and no, the fact that you and the children’s other parent don’t like each other is not a reason! The court expects you to co-parent without its help. The court does not want to be involved in your arrangements for your children and will only do so when it absolutely has to. Not forgetting too, that if the court does get involved, it can make any order it wants and this may mean making an order that neither parent likes. Is that what you want? Really?

If you have been married and are divorcing, you will need a court order to finalise the financial arrangements between you. You will most likely  need a lawyer to draw up this up for you. Your lawyer mediator isn’t able to do this for you but a Lawyer Mediator will draw up your Memorandum of Understanding in such a way that a lawyer  will be able to draft the Consent Order for you easily and quickly, saving you time and money.

 the fact that you and the children’s other parent don’t like each other is not a reason!

Lawyer Mediators – Supporting you to find a good Lawyer

Lawyer Mediators are well connected to other lawyers. If you come to mediation before you seek legal advice (There are advantages to doing this), your mediator can support you both in finding your own lawyers if you need them. It’s important that the lawyer you use support Family Mediation. If you do want to start looking for a lawyer, a great place to start is at Resolution. Resolution lawyers adhere to a code of conduct which supports helping individuals resolve their difficulties with as little conflict as possible. The Lawyer Mediators at Your Family First and Crombie Wilkinson LLP are Resolution lawyers. If you decide that mediation isn’t for you, call Crombie Wilkinson to discuss your divorce and separation needs.

The real advantage of using a lawyer mediator is that they know the real bottom line for you and this can support you when mediation gets tough

Lawyer Mediators – it’s your choice

Your choice of mediator is always down to you. It’s really important that you feel comfortable with your mediator because you need to be able to trust them, and feel safe sharing personal and financial information. Mediation is confidential (save for concerns surrounding personal safety and money laundering); but it’s still important that you feel able to be open and honest if you want mediation to work. It’s likely that you’ll get to meet your mediator at your MIAM so use this time to get a feel for the person who’ll be supporting you. If you don’t like them, don’t use them. If you would prefer someone else, ask the mediator if there are other mediators in the firm or seek support elsewhere.

Mediation is not an easy option. Not at all. But here’s the thing, if you want to be able to move forward by actually talking rather than through copious letters your lawyers send each other, it really is worth giving it a go. Because its always your choice, if its not for you, you can stop it at any time. Mediation isn’t for everyone. What have you got to lose?

Emma Heptonstall is a Family Mediator at Crombie Wilkinson Your Family First in York. She can be contacted on 01904 697760 or via email mediator@yourfamilyfirst.co.uk Evening and weekend appointments are available