A new future for couples who are divorcing or separating

The economic landscape is changing in Ireland. Due to the economic downturn, people can no longer afford lengthy court cases and large legal bills.

The one way to avoid this is to use mediation to agree the terms of your divorce/separation and then have the arrangements formalised. This can save families on average thousands of euro. It also makes for a better future for the family through avoiding the acrimony that arises from protracted court proceedings.

At Family Mediation Ireland we have substantial dispute resolution experience to offer clients in facilitating them through the mediation process. Mediation is about solving problems and teaching people how to solve future problems they may encounter on an on-going basis. For many people, mediation is a process of self-discovery. It will teach the participants new tools that they can use to solve problems in their daily lives.

Our process differs from many different organisations. We advocate a male/female co-mediation model. This is where a couple of one man and one woman jointly conduct the mediation. We find this very effective in terms of resolving disputes. It creates an environment of gender balance in the room. It also provides a better group dynamic and balance in the room. Many organisations worldwide use the co-mediation model in dispute resolution.

We start our mediations with a single session with both parties on their own before we bring both sides together to mediate. Sometimes parties to a dispute do not want to share the same room. It is still possible to mediate under these circumstances between separate rooms.

Due to the fact that mediations are concluded in a more efficient manner with two mediators where some tasks are shared to save time the process can prove more cost effective than where only one mediator is used over a longer period of time. At Family Mediation Ireland we charge clients at a daily and hourly rate for work completed.

We complete mediations nationwide at suitable neutral venues close to the mediating couple or parties. Sessions generally do not go beyond an hour and a half. Generally, we do not complete any more than three sessions in one day save for exceptional circumstances. Sessions of any longer than two hours without a break can be counter-productive. Accordingly, it is important that all parties involved take a break between the mediation sessions to recuperate.

Many couples tend to confuse family mediation with family arbitration. Arbitration and mediation both form part of the ADR (Appropriate Dispute Resolution) family, along with collaborative law.

Many couples ask us how long does it take to complete a mediation? It varies from couple to couple. It depends on how many issues are involved. It also depends on how far apart to respective parties are on certain issues. For separating couples where assets, finance, issues concerning the children along with pension issues are concerned it can take seven to nine sessions to conclude.

The parties aim to complete a memorandum of understanding at the end of the mediation process where possible. This document can then be incorporated into a formal legal agreement where the parties require same to be put in place through their legal advisers.