Some common questions and concerns about mediation:

Q: How long does it take?
A: The pre-mediation meeting lasts an hour. Each mediation session lasts 1.5 to 2 hours. The time taken to reach full resolution can vary from one to five meetings, depending on how complex things are and how cooperative people are able to be.

Q: Will my ex-partner be able to dominate the discussions?
A: Mediators make sure that both people have an opportunity to hear and be heard. We are not passive observers: we work constantly to ensure that the conversation is respectful and constructive.

Q: Do I need a lawyer present?
A: Scots law makes it clear that parents are the best people to make decision about their own children, and family mediation supports this while still encouraging people to seek independent legal advice. When it comes to finances, legal input is essential and we encourage our clients to consult solicitors throughout the process. For complex, high-value matters it may be useful for legal advisers to participate int he mediation.

To locate a family solicitor in your area:

Q: My ex-partner doesn’t want to go to mediation
A: Mediation is always voluntary, and works best when people enter into it with the desire to achieve a resolution. Sometimes people have good reasons for not wanting to meet their former partner: our pre-mediation discussion can help reassure people who are wary of such an encounter. We also provide conflict coaching: a way of thinking through the best way to handle the situation with the help of an impartial person, even where the other person is not prepared to use mediation.

Q: Do I have to sit in the same room as the other person?
A: Many years of experience have convinced us that mediation works best when people can see and hear each other. However, there are circumstances where this is not possible. We can offer mediation in separate rooms, although this trends to take considerably longer. We can also offer telephone mediation where geography is a particular problem.

Q: Is mediation binding?
A: At the end of a mediation we produce a document called a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’. This contains all the terms and information that solicitors require to produce a ‘Minute of Agreement’ (for an explanation of this term see www.therightkindofdivorce.com/ways-of-sorting-things-out/written-agreements.).

A Minute of Agreement is a binding legal document that can form the basis of a divorce. For more information, please consult a solicitor. In general there are high levels of compliance with mediated agreements, probably because people have had a hand in shaping them.