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Yesterday, our blog focussed on what Mediation is and the benefits of parties attending Mediation.

Unfortunately, for some, Mediation is not the most appropriate way forward as one party may have suffered domestic violence from the other party involved in the Mediation process. If this is the case, the thought of sitting in a room to try and reach an agreement can be very daunting. Some Mediators offer ‘Shuttle Mediation’ in these circumstances. ‘Shuttle Mediation’ is a very similar Mediation process however, the significant difference is that although the parties are in the same building, they are not in the same room. The Mediator can go between both of the parties to assist them in reaching an agreement.

In yesterday’s blog we explained that parties have a duty to attend Mediation before issuing children proceedings to deal with the living and contact arrangements for children. This also applies in relation to issuing Court proceedings to deal with the financial consequences of a marriage breakdown.

Despite this being the general rule of thumb, there are exemptions to parties having to attend Mediation before Court proceedings are issued. Some of the most applicable and commonly claimed exemptions are as follows (this is not an exhaustive list):-

  • If you have been a victim of domestic violence and have evidence of this from any of the following:-
  • the Court;
  • the Police;
  • your GP or other health professional;
  • the Local Authority or a housing association;
  • a domestic violence organisation; or
  • a refuge

If you believe that you would be able to obtain evidence that you have suffered domestic violence from one of the above professional bodies then we can advise you as to this at Ramsdens Solicitors. We can also advise you as to the specific evidence that you would require.

  • If there are child protection concerns.
  • If the matter is urgent and the delay caused by attending Mediation could cause risk to the safety of a person, risk of harm to a child or removal of the child from the jurisdiction. This would often apply if a child has been removed from the care of one parent by the other parent without consent and there are safeguarding concerns regarding that parent. This could also apply if there is a risk that a child could be removed from the care of a parent or an institution such as a school or child care provider by the other parent.
  • If contact details cannot be obtained for the other party.
  • If one party is in prison or subject to bail or a licence that prevents contact between the parties.

At Ramsdens we would always encourage parties to attend Mediation if it is appropriate to do so, there is no risk to any party and the matter is not deemed as urgent. In most cases, Mediation is a useful means of resolving matters between parties and an alternative to Court proceedings.

We advise all of our clients in relation to the Mediation process and we can provide you with guidance whilst attending Mediation. Ramsdens can also provide assistance if Mediation has been attempted but broken down and not resolved matters.

As stated above, the general rule of thumb is that parties have to attend Mediation before Court proceedings can be issued. If only one party attends Mediation and the other does not wish to engage then, the Mediator will provide the party that has attended with a signed form to allow them to make an Application to the Court. This form confirms that the party making the Application to the Court has attended a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting.

To book an appointment with one of our Family Law Solicitors contact our Family Helpline on 08000 147720, email family@ramsdens.co.uk or text LAW to 67777 to book a free thirty minute consultation at any of our offices across West Yorkshire. We also offer early morning and late evening appointments across our 12 offices.