Is mediation quicker than going to court?

Published: 3 Dec 2018 by Norfolk Family Mediation

Is mediation quicker than going to court?

A recent report from the Lord Chief Justice* suggests that the number of private family law cases is now around 50,000 a year. Cases are currently taking 26 weeks to conclude after an application to court has been made; that is just over 6 months. As this is an average, some cases will be concluded more quickly, whilst others will take longer.  
 
Mediation can offer a quicker resolution, will most cases reaching conclusion in half the time. 
 
Norfolk Family Mediation Service is normally able to see clients for an initial assessment meeting within one to two weeks after making an initial call. We understand how important child contact and financial issues are to people's wellbeing, so we always try to see people as soon as possible.  
 
Once a client has had an assessment meeting, we contact the other party to invite them for their own one-to-one assessment with the mediator. Again, we see them as soon as possible, but also give them time to consider if mediation is something they would like to explore. 
 
After both parties have had an assessment meeting, we bring separated couples together to discuss the issues and challenges they face. Each meeting lasts for an hour and a half, and people can have as many meetings as they need to reach agreement. This is usually one or two for child contact issues, and three or four for financial issues (such as how to fairly divide property or pensions).  
 
When you meet, and how long you have between meetings is largely up to you. Some people find that they like to leave a month or two between sessions in order to gather financial information, or see how agreements over child care are working for everyone involved. Others like to proceed more quickly. For those that only need one mediation session, agreement can be reached in a matter of weeks.  
 
Mediation gives you control over how long it takes to conclude your case. It also gives you control over the outcomes and agreements you reach. Mediation can therefore give you a quicker resolution and help you retain control over how to build a new future after separation. 
 
To find out more about mediation, or to book an assessment, call 01603 620588; we are here to support you.  
 
(*Sources: Family Law Week, 16th November 2018)