There are many different thoughts on what mediation is and isn’t and quite a few common misconceptions. When it comes to disagreements and disputes such as divorce, for example, mediation isn’t a miracle cure but with the right preparation, it can be an effective method for reaching a fair, mutually agreeable settlement. Some of the misconceptions of mediation are outlined below:

Mediation is a type of counselling

The main aim of mediation is to assist parties through the dispute process as best as possible. While it can be a place to air grievances, a mediator is present to help parties work through difficult decisions with a future focus and work on a mutually beneficial solution. It’s not therapy but a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to court.

If I go to court and the judge hears my case, I will get a better result than in mediation.

In a court setting you are not always able to get every point across that you would like to make and more often than not, the decisions made by a judge are not satisfactory to either one or both parties involved. In mediation, you are given the time and space to put forward everything you’d like to discuss. It also provides both parties the environment to hear each other out and encourages you to come to a mutual agreement that you can both be satisfied with. In mediation you are in control of the outcome.

Mediation isn’t legally binding.

When you arrive at an agreement through the process of mediation, a Memorandum of Understanding is drawn up by the mediator and can be converted to a legally binding order or deed via your family solicitor. If a successful agreement cannot be reached, your mediator will recommend you to take legal advice to help you move forward. If the mediator is also a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) then they can issue the certificate to be able to go to Court. In the vast majority of cases, mediation helps parties to re-establish a dialogue where communication has broken down and resolve any differences in a dignified manner. Agreements made through mediation are also more likely to succeed in the long term due to the open communication and cooperation involved.

Mediation is an effective, structured process that helps parties to negotiate their disputes in private with as little animosity as possible. By avoiding the need to go to court, mediation is often faster, easier, and cheaper and changes the direction of a dispute towards long term resolution.