What is divorce mediation and who is it for?
As we all know, the process of ending a marriage isn’t easy. Rarely, though, is it difficult because one person wants a divorce and the other doesn’t – the vast majority of separated couples tend to agree that they should pursue a divorce. Instead, it is dividing things like properties, savings, pensions and agreeing living arrangements for children that are most likely to cause disputes and prolong the divorce process.
Such disagreements can occasionally be resolved without outside assistance. More often than not, though, if the couple are unable to agree on a compromise within two to three weeks, they will struggle to do so without professional help. Many people assume that solicitors are the only option under such circumstances, but this is not the case: mediation is a viable, affordable and often effective means of resolving such disputes.
How divorce mediation can help
Mediation’s biggest advantage is that it uses a setup that is designed to minimise confrontation and disagreement by working with both spouse in a neutral setting.
Solicitors represent one spouse only and, whilst they will still encourage their clients to act reasonably and consider compromises, this hinders their ability to negotiate quickly and to give both parties’ situations full consideration.
On the other hand, mediators will hold sessions with both spouses, consider their respective positions and thoughts and advise them both accordingly. Vitally, the fact that they are present means that they are able to step in if either spouse becomes ‘deregulated’ and suggest, for example, that discussions be paused in order to provide them with an opportunity to collect their thoughts. This allows them to help keep participants calm and maintain an environment within which successful negotiations are more likely.
How much does divorce mediation cost?
Mediators, like solicitors, charge by the hour and rates generally range between £50 and £120. Whilst this means that the price you pay will be determined by the number of mediation sessions you attend, research has shown that – provided a couple genuinely want to arrive at an agreement and are willing to compromise – mediators are often able to help couples arrive at an agreement quickly.
So, whilst the fees that mediators charge aren’t insignificant, they’re still lower than those typically charged by solicitors. Combine this with the fact that they often produce results in less time and it’s evident that, whilst the cost will differ from person to person, they’re very likely to be cheaper than solicitors.
Does anything need to be done after an agreement’s been reached?
Not necessarily, but it’d be advisable that the agreement be made binding via a Consent Order before a divorce is finalised.
In what is commonly known as a clean break divorce, the divorce procedure is all but identical but with one key exception: a formal application for a Consent Order is submitted to court following a Decree Nisi having been granted. This application will state precisely what the couple have agreed, and this will be reviewed by a family court judge. Occasionally, this will result in the applicants needing to attend a meeting with this person, but this is extremely rare and only comes about when a judge believes that an agreement overly favours one party. The vast majority of applications are approved and, following this, all facets of the agreement become legally enforceable and – save where it is later shown that one party hid assets – prevents either spouse from claiming any of the other’s assets in the future.
Do I need a solicitor?
No, you don’t. You can prepare your divorce papers yourself, in fact. Alternatively, you could always use an online divorce provider like Quickie Divorce – we’ll prepare all of the documents you’ll need to get a divorce for just £67.
Preparing a Consent Order is slightly more complicated as some knowledge of legalese (the technical language used in legal documents) is required. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to pay hundreds of pounds to a solicitor. We’ll prepare it for you along with your divorce papers for just £167.