The public are being given a unique insight into the secretive and often misunderstood world of mediation as part of BBC Two’s three part series, Mr vs Mrs: Call The Mediator.
The programme follows divorcing and separating couples as they look to resolve conflict outside of the courtroom. Part of the series, which features mediators with National Family Mediation services, was filmed at Relate West Surrey’s offices in Woking.
The most up to date figures show there were 114,720 divorces in England and Wales in 2013 with many more people separating. Most families manage separation by themselves without negative long-term impacts, but for a minority of families the hurt, anger and emotional turmoil of separation can lead to intractable conflict with damaging impacts on children.
Relate Counsellor , Clare Prendergast at Relate GMS believes Mr vs Mrs: Call The Mediator will help to raise awareness about the potential benefits of mediation. He said:
“It’s great that mediation is finally having its moment in the spotlight. Mediation offers couples an out of court option to make arrangements around separation or divorce. An impartial mediator manages the process but the couple decide what arrangements to agree on. It’s an effective option which can reduce conflict and costly legal fees whilst improving communication between separating couples.”
Mediation could be for you if….
Your previous attempts to reach an agreement have failed
Unlike relationship counselling, mediation is usually a service that couples access when their attempts to resolve any conflict haven’t been successful.
You don’t want to end up with a costly court bill
Compared to negotiating everything through lawyers, Family Mediation can save you both time and money. From April 1 2013, families in most circumstances are now unable to get Legal Aid when they go to the family court to settle a dispute. However, Legal Aid has been retained for Family Mediation, and the courts will expect couples to try mediation as their first option.
You want more say about what happens.
In court a judge will make the decisions. With mediation you and the other party make the decisions. It’s easier on children when parents co-operate and discuss things in a structured way. This way it helps everyone to continue important family relationships.
You wish to have less conflict between you and your partner.
Evidence shoes that high levels of conflict, rather than separation itself, is the most damaging thing for children. Mediation can help to improve communication, reduce conflict and find ways for everyone involved to get on better in the future.
Relate GMS offers a range of relationship support services, including mediation. Call us on 0300 0032331 or visit www.relategms.co.uk for more information.
The final instalment of Mr vs Mrs: Call The Mediator airs on BBC Two at 9pm on Tuesday 5th June.