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Unveiling of Mediation Myths

View profile for Susan Howarth
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We lawyers and lawyer mediators are notorious for talking in lawyer speak, forgetting the vast majority of people want plain speak.

How many know what mediation is?

When I started to mediate I found:-

  • Many clients thought I would help them get back together – NO.  That is a job for Relate or marital counsellors
  • Others thought I would provide them with solutions to the issues arising on separation – NO.  That is the Judge’s job when couples cannot agree settlement.
  • Even more thought I would give them legal advice and it would save them time and money because they were getting that advice together – NO NO NO!  That is the solicitor’s job and yes, they each have to have a separate solicitor.

Well what is mediation in plain English?

It is all about the four C’s!!




Cost effectiveness


Whether you have never been able to communicate with your ex or, as a result of the breakup, you feel too hurt, betrayed or too angry to talk, the reality is that communication is essential to sort issues out.  Don’t be under any illusion.  If you refuse or say you can’t talk to your ex, the consequence in all likelihood will be a costly, long and drawn out battle and if you have children this certainly is not a good idea. They will become piggies in the middle.  Do you want that?

In these circumstances mediation is a bold and brave option but the mediator is there to manage your communication, allow you both to speak, insist you both listen to the other, manage angry, frustrating or snide exchanges thereby keeping the communication positive and constructive. 

The mediator helps you to firstly identify your priority list of issues to be resolved, and then to address all the possible ways of reaching a solution.  A solution that both of you can live with. 


This will lead to you both staying in Control of your past, your present and your future. 


Going to mediation will mean you stay in Control and any solutions you reach are yours.

You have a few options on how to reach a solution acceptable to both of you about your future but the alternative to mediation can mean losing Control.

It may feel safer and less painful to instruct a solicitor to write letters and distance yourself from facing the need to Compromise.  To reach a solution where there are 2 opposing stand points inevitably means Compromise. 

Perhaps you feel this is impossible so your other option may be to go to Court and ask the Judge to decide.  That really is a lottery and one where you do lose Control.

Ask yourself is it better to be in Control of your own future and at least reach a solution where you both have to give and take in order to meet in some middle ground which you both feel you can live with going forward.  That is Compromise



Communication, keeping Control and reaching a Compromised solution where no-one wins but you each give a little and take a little.  Fair or not?  Liveable with or not?  How much better is that than a strange Judge making the decision about your life and that of your children past, present and future? 

Ask yourself which would be your choice?

Control or losing it to a stranger who applies legal principles that might seem alien to you and your ex?

Cutting out the battle, cutting out polarised positions you and your ex could adopt in going down the alternative routes to mediation means you meeting together with an impartial mediator, managing your discussions and keeping you focused on the issues to be resolved.

Cutting out the to-ing and fro-ing of letters, meetings and phone calls and more to-ing and fro-ing. You are condensing all this into one or several mediation sessions.  That has got to be Cost effective, both in time and money.  Do you agree

Cost Effectiveness

Our fourth C and a biggie for everyone.

It is estimated that on average all issues arising out of separation/divorce, including children and finances, can be resolved in 4-5 mediation sessions plus drafting time of documents for the mediator reflecting progress and any mutually acceptable proposals for each.

You will be recommended to consult a solicitor to protect your position and discuss the legal merits of any proposed solution which will add to the cost.

Overall it can safely be said that 4-5 sessions amount to 6-7½ hours investment of time, the costs of which will be shared between you. This equates to roughly half the cost of consulting solicitors (where a deal can be negotiated) and less than a third of the cost of going to Court fighting.

That must be a no-brainer – Yes?!

All things considered, mediation is frequently viewed as a quicker, less stressful, more practical and cost-effective means of sorting out the issues that often arise from the breakdown of a relationship.

If you are thinking about mediation, would like more information or just a quick chat, please get in touch with Victoria Poole on 01606 48777.