Cressida Burnet Mediation

Mediation Services - Cressida's Approach

Cressida sees each client separately for their first meeting in order to determine the issues and to find out what the client's are looking to achieve from the mediation process. This is also an invaluable opportunity for the client to ask the mediator any questions that they may have, this part of the process is confidential between the client and the mediator.

From this point on, generally all meetings involve both parties. In the first joint session the parties (with the help of the mediator) determine the agenda/issues, prepare a task list, depending on the issues and, start productive communication between the parties.

There is no set formula for mediation and it can take between 2 and 6 sessions for all issues to be resolved and this depends on the complexity of the issues. The aim is to introduce legal advice at key points in the mediation which will enable clients to make informed proposals/decision. If agreements are reached Cressida will draft documentation to reflect these decisions including details of any financial disclosure and these will be given to the parties to deliver to their respective solicitors to convert into a consent order/separation order.

During the process it may be appropriate to separate the parties if there is a deadlock and introduce a shuttle mediation whereby Cressida is able to see the parties separately and they may be more willing to state their concerns/issues. Then Cressida can help them to each strike a balance. Further, it is often appropriate to introduce other professionals at key points in the mediation, for example an accountant to value a small company on the basis of a joint instruction

Everything discussed within the mediation is confidential and cannot be used in a court at a later stage, save for financial disclosure which is prepared on an open basis.

Mediation can be used in a number of situations and the list is exhaustive but below are some general examples.

Family mediation includes dealing with all issues that arise on separation or divorce:

Contact issues with children – this can involve helping a couple to agree a schedule that suits everyone to specific issues relating to Christmas/Easter and other holidays plans. We can also facilitate discussions about the best way to introduce a new partner to the children.

Financial provision – within mediation we can deal with all financial matters or just specific areas. Financial disclosure is mandatory whether one is mediating a settlement or using solicitors. Cressida advocates the use of the same disclosure forms that parties would use with their solicitors as this saves time and money in the long term. Within mediation the disclosure process can take place with Cressida being able to, if necessary, clarify exactly what documentation is needed and which, if any valuations are needed for property/companies etc. The couple’s financial information can be put into a straightforward table and then discussions can take place about future living arrangements for the family, pensions, savings and possible lump sum payments.

Maintenance – This is an area that can cause the most strife. With the help of very specific budget sheets Cressida can help the couple to look at their and the children’s needs. Combined with the couples general financial information, from this ideas can be formulated as to the appropriate level of maintenance for the children and/or spousal maintenance. Cressida also helps parties post divorce who are seeking to vary a previously ordered maintenance award.

Cressida is also able to provide mediation in specific areas:

Direct Consultation with children as a result of mediating with their parents (or brought in as an independent consultant). This is particularly helpful when the children want ‘a voice’ within the process or it is thought helpful by all to consider the children’s wishes, particularly in relation to contact arrangements. These meetings need to be handled very carefully and require training and experience.

Mediating with Grandparents and Parents who want contact or more contact with their grandchildren. Many grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren post divorce/separation and mediation can be used to help all the growns up to move forward and appreciate the wonderful and beneficial relationship that can exist between grandparents and grandchildren.

Initial discussions with a couple before they see their respective solicitors to ascertain what issues are actually in dispute, thereby allowing a streamlined use of their solicitors to focus on these issues.

Dealing with financial disclosure – helping to identify what needs to be disclosed and agreeing how extensive such disclosure should be, taking into account the requirements by the Court.

Meeting with parents, on a regular basis, to help them to draw up contact schedules.

Post-divorce discussions when issues arise in relation to maintenance or contact issues.

As with all services that I offer my work with families is strictly confidential, and you can be sure that from the very first contact with, you will be treated with respect. Whatever your situation, I will be able to offer you reassurance and the benefit of my experience.


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