16 Jun

Penny Hogan is a qualified family mediator and is a member of the Family Mediation Counsel and The Family Mediation Association.  

In the UK, family mediation is a process that helps separating or divorcing couples and families resolve disputes and make decisions about various aspects of their separation or divorce, such as child custody, financial matters, and property division. Family mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that is facilitated by a trained and impartial third party called a family mediator.

The primary goal of family mediation is to encourage effective communication and collaboration between the parties involved, helping them reach mutually acceptable agreements and avoid going to court. The mediator's role is to guide the discussions, ensure that both parties have an equal opportunity to express their views, and facilitate productive negotiations.

Here are some key aspects of family mediation in the UK:

Voluntary participation:
Family mediation is a voluntary process, meaning that both parties must agree to participate. It is often encouraged by the UK courts as an alternative to litigation.

Impartial mediator:
The mediator is a neutral and impartial professional who does not take sides or make decisions on behalf of the parties. Their role is to facilitate open and constructive dialogue, helping the parties explore options and find mutually beneficial solutions.

Family mediation sessions are confidential, providing a safe and private environment for discussions. The information shared during mediation cannot be used as evidence in court proceedings unless both parties agree or in exceptional circumstances, such as child protection concerns.

Focus on children's best interests:
Family mediation places a strong emphasis on the best interests of any children involved. The mediator helps parents or guardians consider the impact of their decisions on their children's well-being and encourages them to develop parenting plans and arrangements that prioritize the children's needs.

Legally informed process:
While mediators do not provide legal advice, they can provide information about the legal framework and options available to the parties. It is recommended that individuals seeking family mediation also seek independent legal advice to ensure they fully understand their rights and obligations.

Family mediation can be a more cost-effective, less adversarial, and quicker alternative to going to court. It empowers individuals to have control over the decision-making process and encourages a cooperative approach to resolving conflicts. However, it's important to note that family mediation may not be suitable for all cases, particularly those involving domestic violence or situations where there is a significant power imbalance between the parties.

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