Family mediation is here to stay. But how does it work? What actually happens? How can you make sure the settlements reached are fair, and what do couples who mediate have to do? The purpose of this 12 part series is to attempt to answer those questions specifically – at least as it applies for those who choose New Landscape Mediation to help them create their solutions. Whether we are working with clients from our main offices near Stansted airport in Essex, our offices in central London, or in Cambridge, this series of blogs will better help you to understand how we go about saving our clients up to £20,000 each over a more traditional, solicitor led settlement solution.
Here in part 12 of this series, I will discuss the Outcome Documents.
Coming up with a mutually acceptable set of proposals in mediation isn’t, unfortunately, the end of the process. This set of proposals needs to be written up in such a way that it can then be made into a legally binding agreement. The first step in this process is a document called a Memorandum of Understanding. If you have not negotiated a financial settlement in mediation but have only created a set of children’s arrangements, then it is called a Statement of Outcome. Either way, the purpose of the document is to enable you both to then apply to the court for a consent order.
Orders by the court are legally binding upon both parties. Where the order made is one where a judge is effectively only ratifying an agreement that the parties have brought to the judge, this is deemed a consent order because the order is being made with the consent of both parties. Importantly, consent orders only contain the factual elements of an agreement. They do not in any way record any of the background details or any information as to why a particular agreement was made in that way.
This is where mediation outcome documents really come into their own. Our documents not only record the factual information but also the thinking behind it. This is extremely important information that you will come to rely on at some point in the future. It is not unusual for couples to re-think what they agreed to at the time of a settlement a year or two later once the dust settles. For some it is because they now have a new partner, or a different job. This can have the effect of making people look back and think they’ve made a poor decision. When this happens, it is because they have forgotten WHY they agreed to a particular solution. Having this explanation written down in a clear manner will save you both a great deal of time and heartache down the line.
f you would like more information about any aspect of this series, please contact our offices on 01279 211 657 or send us an email for a fully confidential discussion of your needs.