In short, no.
Many people think that you can only acquire help or assistance from one or the other, rather than both solicitors and mediators. This is not the case and using the service of both a solicitor and mediator can be the most effective way in resolving family law issues, such as financial disagreements following divorce/separation or issues regarding child(ren) arrangements.
Solicitors are continuously looking at new ways to help clients come to an agreement in both a time and cost effective way and in a way that avoids any increased conflict or animosity. Mediation is one of the most successful mechanisms in enabling this to happen.
Solicitors refer clients to mediation for a number of reasons:
- There is a likelihood that parties can come to agreement together.
- Mediation is a tool used to avoid or reduce conflict between parties, which can occur during litigation and especially if Court proceedings are initiated.
- It can be cost effective.
- The timescale to reaching an agreement can be much quicker, especially in comparison to court proceedings.
- Mediation can include the voice of the child(ren), where child(ren) arrangements are in dispute.
- There is an increased likelihood that, to some degree, both parties will be happy with the outcome, as they will have worked together to come to an agreement.
Mediation can therefore help solicitors in enabling client’s matters to come to a swift and amicable conclusion. On the flipside, it is likely to be beneficial for mediation if you have a have solicitor involved so that you can seek legal advice and talk through certain aspects/queries with them, that you would not be able to do with your mediator.
Of course, mediation is not suitable in every case and your solicitor will be able to advise you further.
The clear message from solicitors, barristers and the Courts is that alternate dispute resolution, particularly mediation, should be considered from the outset and tried where suitable. The Court are currently inundated with applications, which many Judges believe could have been avoided if mediation had been used. Mediation is a prerequisite to making an application to Court (unless your matter falls under one of the exceptions) and this should be taken seriously by all.
It must therefore be understood that solicitors and mediators are a joint mechanism to be utilised and that they do no work against each other, but together for the benefit of clients.
For further information, or to arrange an appointment with a solicitor or mediator please contact us on 01274 861096 (Liversedge) or 01423 637272 (Harrogate) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.