Review: Call The Mediator


The Law Of... calling the mediator

A new BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary has pushed a problem that many separated couples face – Mediation – to the forefront of public discussion.

Call The Mediator

Head of Family Law, John Pratley, explains how not every instance of separation results in legal action – with this new series offering an informative alternative.

Finding A New Way

The first episode of the documentary follows the journey of three couples who are facing very different difficulties: navigating a way to split finances, decisions about access to children, and choices over co-parenting.

The twist in this documentary stems from the fact that the couples are not going to court to settle their differences.

Each party brings their argument to the table, and a neutral mediator facilitates an environment that allows an agreement to be made from the options available to each couple.

Getting The Right Outcome

The relationship of one couple, Martyn and Nicky, has broken down to the level where they do not want to be in the same room – thought they still occasionally have an intimate relationship. The problem is that they have two young children together.

  • Both parents believe Martyn should have contact with his children, but are struggling to find a solution of where he can see them - at a local centre or at Nicky's home
  • The local centre is 45 minutes away, where Martyn says there is very little for him and the children to do during their time together
  • Nicky does not want to see Martyn when he gets the children, nor does she want the children seeing Martyn's new partner - she believes this would be detrimental to their wellbeing.

In the five months after mediation ended, Martyn has only seen his children once – and the two are considering their options.

John comments:

"Mr v Mrs offers a unique insight into the world of mediation. It highlights, in a very real way, how complicated a break up can be when there are emotive topics such as children, the family home, and broken down communication are at the core of the issue."

"For many couples we would suggest mediation as the first point of call before going to Court, to try and find an amicable solution to the problems the couples face. As the show rightly explains, mediation is the first step before getting into a legal dispute which can be a costly affair. Couples benefit from having legal advice before embarking on mediation and between mediation sessions to ensure they go into the process knowing what their rights are and what a fair agreement might look like."

"Mediators are well trained to ensure that one party or another is not taken advantage of and that everybody’s needs are met in the final agreement reached."

"Where a relationship has broken down, there are always going to be differences of opinion, and for some, mediation is the only solution they need. For others, such as Martyn and Nicky, the only option they have left is to seek professional legal help to solve their issues."

Simpson Millar Can Help

Mediation is always a voluntary proceeding, and good mediators will always try to encourage positive, confidential dialogue between parties, without the need for involving the courts. At Simpson Millar, we are on hand to provide this alternative service should you need it, and our expert team are happy to advise you on all aspects of family law.

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