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mediation and collaborative law
Alternative dispute resolution is the focus at Slater Heelis
From the 6th April 2011 any couple wishing to separate will need to have a meeting with a mediator first. Rather than communicate through solicitors both parties are in the room with a trained mediator with the focus on reaching a resolution. The benefits of mediation are clear:
• Reduce tension and hostility
• Encouraging the parties to make the important decisions themselves rather than the decisions being made for them
• Keeps communication channels open
• Saves on the cost of expensive court battles
• Helps children to deal with the separation knowing that their parents are working together to resolve the issues
• A far less costly way of resolving issues upon breakdown of relationships – the average mediation of 3 to 5 sessions and the preparation of the documents will cost significantly less than the traditional approach.
Mediators facilitate discussion and negotiation to help you understand what matters to you and to help you to make your own choices about the best way forward. They will help you reach practical solutions which feel fair to both of you.
Mediation in Practice
You can expect to have around 3 to 5 sessions with the mediator and you are free to consult a solicitor at any time to take legal advice on what is best for you. When you are both content with the decisions you have reached, the agreement can then be approved by your solicitor who can then complete the legal formalities.
If however you feel that mediation is not working or that your personal position is not being sufficiently protected you can move to one of two alternative approaches:
This is a relatively new area of law that offers both parties the opportunity to collectively reach solution but with the reassurance of independent legal advice. You both appoint your own independent solicitor, then the four of you have meetings together and agree the best way forward for all concerned. This way you can combine the need to reach a settlement more efficiently with independent legal advice on protecting interests.
This route ensures that all the negotiation is through your solicitors working on your behalf and if agreement cannot be reached then proceedings are issued and the Court makes the decisions. Although this route is traditionally longer and more expensive sometimes it is necessary if agreement cannot be reached by either negotiation or the collaborative approach.
If you need any additional advice on the best route for you please contact either:-
Mark Heptinstall, on 0161 968 3319 or email him at email@example.com.
Wendy Buckley, on 0161 968 3335 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Slater Heelis LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in
England and Wales with registered number OC371694 and whose registered
office is at Lloyds Bank Buildings, 16 School Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 7XP.
Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and governed
by the SRA Code of Conduct (details of which can be found
at www.sra.org.uk/handbook). Our VAT number is 727 0283 44.