Family mediators are there purely to provide information and facilitate discussion, not to give legal advice to either party. The purpose of mediation is for the parties to reach their agreements and whilst the family mediator may provide valuable information, you will need to obtain any further legal advice from your solicitor. The decisions you reach through the family mediation process will only gain legal formality once appropriate agreement have been drafted and signed or court orders obtained. It may be the case that external professional experts are required such as financial advisors, accountants, surveyors.
When will legal advice be needed?
It is advisable to have legal advice at your disposal throughout the mediation process because you never know when you may wish to clarify certain points with your solicitor. Prior to the drafting of any paperwork which will be legally binding it is certainly sensible to seek legal advice.
How your solicitor can help
• Advise you on the documents needed for disclosure and analyse the documents disclosed by the other side
• Advise you on what you ask for from the negotiations, ensuring that your demands are in the best interests of you and your children in the long run
• Discuss any alternative options with you
• Discourage you from adopting any unreasonable stances during proceedings
• Guide you throughout the entire process until a final decision is made
The outcome summary or Memorandum of Understanding that your mediator will draw up at the end of the process is not legally binding. As a result it is essential that when using mediation for property or finance issues, a draft order or legally binding document is drawn up. Otherwise it could be possible for one party to attempt to gain extra finance from the other side in the future.
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