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Should I stop family mediation and go to court?

Should I stop family mediation and go to court?

There comes a time when most people who are involved in mediation ask themselves the question whether they should stop family mediation and go to court to secure either a child arrangement order or a divorce financial settlement. Specialist family law solicitors say that with the right mediation support behind you, family mediation can be a quick and effective way to resolve either the childcare or financial issues that arise after a separation or divorce. Alternatively, you can come to realise that it takes two people to mediate and to compromise. If your ex-partner won't engage in the mediation process and they won't listen or make compromises then you need expert legal advice on whether your best option is to continue family mediation or to go to court.

ONLINE AND LONDON BASED FAMILY LAW SOLICITORS  

If you have questions about mediation, need mediation support or advice on whether to start a child custody or contact application or a financial settlement application then the family law team at  OTS Solicitors can help you. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form so we can set up a skype, video conference or telephone appointment for you with one of our friendly and approachable specialist family law solicitors.

Stopping family mediation

Stopping family mediation is a big decision to make. It is best to take specialist family law legal advice before doing so. That way you can get expert advice on matters such as:

  • How far apart you really are in what you and your ex-partner want to achieve in mediation and how likely it is that a family law judge will side with you or with your ex-partner or make a decision that’s a compromise between your two positions.
  • What it is that is making you want to stop mediation. Is it a dislike of the mediation sessions or a fear of being in the same room as your ex-partner because domestic violence occurred in your relationship? Are you questioning the impartiality of the family mediator or frustrated at the speed of mediation? A family law solicitor can look at your concerns and can see if they can be addressed without your having to stop mediation provided that family mediation is still assessed to be the best option for you to reach a resolution.
  • Realistically how long court proceedings will take to complete either a children law or financial settlement application and the likely legal costs.
  • Whether the costs of court proceedings would be justified as the prospects of success may not make the expenditure on legal fees worthwhile. For example, why spend X in legal fees in going to court if, in the specialist family law solicitor’s view, the best you could get in a financial settlement is Y but there is a very real likelihood that you will end up with X and also have to pay your legal costs of an additional X, so you are likely to lose financially by starting court proceedings. That isn’t always the case but it is best to get honest upfront advice so you can make an informed decision on whether you should stop mediation. Different considerations apply when it comes to a children law application (such as a child arrangement order or specific issue order application) as you can't carry out the same cost benefit ratio when it comes to working out whether court proceedings are justified.
  • The timing of stopping mediation. For example, if you are close to reaching an agreement on restarting contact with your children it maybe best to agree some contact and then start the application for a child arrangement order if your ex-partner won't then agree to additional contact.
  • The alternatives to mediation and traditional court proceedings, such as solicitor roundtable negotiations or arbitration and their benefits.

Ideally every person attending family mediation would get mediation support as that means you receive ongoing independent legal advice during the mediation process and that legal advice can help you understand what’s happening in mediation and whether it is best to remain patient or not.

Going to court

Going to court isn’t the easy option to resolve child custody and contact or to get a financial settlement. That’s why it is best to get clear legal advice on the likely costs and timescales of children law or financial settlement court proceedings before you threaten to stop mediation and go to court. The reality is that by making what are empty threats of court applications may actually weaken your negotiating position or further polarise you and your ex-partner’s positions, making it less likely that you will be able to reach an agreement in family mediation or through solicitor negotiations.

For some people going to court is undoubtedly the best answer but specialist family law solicitors say it is vital to work out whether you are one of those people before you take the decision to stop family mediation.

ONLINE AND LONDON BASED FAMILY LAW SOLICITORS

If you would like mediation support during the family mediation process or need advice on whether to start a child custody or contact application or a financial settlement application the family law team at  OTS Solicitors can help. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form so we can set up a skype, video conference or telephone appointment for you with one of our friendly and approachable specialist family law solicitors.

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