A recent survey for Family Mediators Association has shown that divorcing and separating couples are having difficulty accessing the information they need to help them make informed decisions about key issues such as financial issues. The survey showed that around 15% of people were unaware that there were more ways to resolve family matters than using a Solicitor and/or going to Court, with that figure rising to 38% amongst the younger generation of respondents.
The survey showed that people’s satisfaction with the outcome of their issues is strongly related to their ability to access information about their different options. Those participants who were happiest with the outcome of their separation were also those who had the best access to information available about options available to them.
Overall 48% of those who responded to the survey felt positive about the outcome of their separation. This figure was higher in areas were participants had more information about their options readily available to them, but fell in areas where participants were unaware of mediation as an option.
The survey also showed that 25% of the couples asked picked a method for resolving their issues based on the cost – looking at what was the cheapest option available; however, few couples were actually aware of how the costs of different resolution methods compare. Mediation tends to be less expensive that many alternatives, but Ministry of Justice figures show that only 2% of respondents reported using a family mediation service compared to 35% using Courts or solicitors to negotiate, an often far more costly option.
As a result of the above findings, many family mediators are now calling for practical information about mediation to be available on a wider basis, including information on the matters for which mediation can be used.
Beverley Sayers, chair of the Family Mediators Association, says, “’This research reinforces what many of us in the mediation profession are experiencing on a daily basis. People simply aren’t aware of the options available to them when they separate or divorce, but – as the research findings show – people who make informed decisions based on information and knowledge are generally happier with the outcome of their separation.”
Samantha Lee, Family Mediator and Director of Swain & Co Solicitors says, “It is always important for parties to ensure they are aware of all potential options available to them to resolve a dispute. This is especially the case in family law where the Court’s adversarial process is not always the best option to resolve a dispute. I feel it is very important for people to know more about mediation and give it serious consideration when looking at how to solve a family law matter as it is more amicable and less costly than tradition means of dispute resolution.”
If you have any queries about Mediation and how it could work for you please contact Samantha on 02392 474040