Solicitor assisted Mediation – how this hybrid approach works

by Kidd Rapinet on February 19, 2024
couple sitting separately on stone bench

Solicitor-assisted mediation is a form of hybrid mediation.  As the name suggests, it includes lawyers in the process, offering several benefits to the traditional mediation attended by only a couple and their mediator.

In traditional family mediation, one mediator works with a couple in one room to help facilitate an agreement, lawyer-assisted mediation ensures that each party has legal support, guidance and the resources necessary to navigate the legal issues experienced during mediation. This saves the couple having to take separate legal advice after the mediation session. It is also possible for the parties to sit in separate rooms during the process.

Benefits of Legally Assisted Mediation

  • Due to the presence of lawyers, availability of legal guidance throughout the process and opportunity to partake in mediation in separate rooms, this type of mediation can assist couples where their case is complex, involves a high level of conflict or one of the couple feels disempowered or vulnerable without his/her lawyer present.
  • As lawyers are involved, parties can explore a wider range of options and potential solutions tailored to their circumstances. Lawyer involvement can facilitate the development of complex issues that require legal intervention.
  • The parties can also speak to the mediator in confidence and this can assist the mediator in gaining a deeper understanding of where there may be compromise, and what could be creating a deadlock. The mediator will agree with each of the parties what that party is content to feedback to the other party to progress the discussions in mediation. This is different to the traditional family mediation.
  • Lawyer assisted mediation can help to alleviate tensions, manage realistic expectations and so encourage productive negotiation.
  • Matters can be resolved quickly, and discussions can be converted into a draft consent order by the lawyers involved within the process on the same day. This can reduce stress levels and allow the couple to enter into an open and binding agreement at the same session.

Legal Assistance in the Mediation Process

Each party to the mediation process must have a separate confidential meeting to discuss the mediation process, suitability and obtain information on the issues. This is called a ‘MIAM’ (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting). Prior to the mediation, the couple’s individual lawyers will produce relevant financial and factual information and attend a joint meeting with the mediator to discuss the process. Following this, the lawyer assisted mediation is scheduled. Throughout the mediation process, lawyers are able to provide legal advice and assistance to their client. This ensures that clients’ interests are protected, they can feel more supported and it can prevent one party from overcommitting. Once an agreement is reached, each party’s lawyer will be involved in drafting the consent order to formalise the terms agreed upon during the mediation.

This article was brought to you by Kidd Rapinet’s family solicitors. You can book an appointment with any of the family lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe, Maidenhead or Slough, using the form provided.  Please use the links provided to find more information on divorce or separation, child arrangements and other areas of family law.

These materials and content have been prepared for the benefit of their viewers/readers. They are intended for marketing purposes only and are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice applicable to any particular facts or circumstances. Kidd Rapinet LLP and/or the author(s) accept no duty of care, responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which you or any third party may suffer as a result of any reliance or use by you or them of these marketing materials and content, except to the extent it is not legally possible to exclude such liability. If you require legal advice on your own situation, please contact us so we can discuss how we may assist

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