Mediation is becoming an increasingly popular means of resolving conflicts. Apart from the growing demand for mediation that we are seeing in our work, it is also featuring more and more prominently in the media. But what exactly is mediation, and why do we believe in it so firmly?
What is mediation?
Mediation is a way of solving conflicts in which two parties try and sort out their problems through the agency of an impartial outsider. Mediation can be used with any type of conflict. For two people going through a divorce, mediation may well prove to be the best way of overcoming differences of opinion and deciding on the arrangements that need to be made.
Why opt for mediation in a divorce?
If you and your partner decide to go your separate ways, you’ll find that this has all sorts of consequences. Apart from having to make lots of practical arrangements, you’ll also have to cope with the emotional impact. That’s why it’s important to have effective support that takes account of both the emotional and the legal aspects of divorce. A mediator will help you to approach differences of opinion with an open mind and to part company in a dignified, respectful manner. The mediator structures the divorce process and supplies you with all the legal information you need. If you feel overwhelmed by the whole situation, the mediator will get you back on track.
A role for children
It is particularly important for parents going through a divorce or separation to bring their relationship to a satisfactory conclusion. After all, parents still have the crucial task of bringing up the children after a divorce. As part of the mediation process, your children will be given an opportunity to voice their opinions if they wish. This helps them to feel acknowledged and ensures that due account is taken of their interests.
Can’t you go to court?
As we have said, a great deal of issues need to be resolved in divorce proceedings. You can make clear, detailed and effective arrangements together, which you can then put to a court. The court is, however, bound by certain legal restrictions and has a limited freedom of movement in arriving at its decisions. The court is also obliged to respect certain procedural safeguards, which means that legal proceedings may take up a lot of time. If you decide to use mediation, however, you set the pace of the process yourselves, and you decide yourselves on the nature of the arrangements you need to make.
Would mediation suit you?
Mediation means exploring potential solutions together, so people tend to believe – wrongly so – that it is effective only if the two parties are still on friendly terms with each other. However, mediation can still be effective even if you do not see eye to eye. If communication is difficult, the mediator will help to ease the tension and ensure that both parties’ needs and preferences feature on the agenda. Our own experience is that mediation fosters mutual understanding, thus relieving tension and creating scope for a meeting of minds.
How much does it cost?
An additional advantage of mediation is that you share the costs. Moreover, some legal expenses insurance policies cover the costs of mediation (up to a specified maximum). It’s worth asking your insurance company if this is the case.
Come and see us free of charge, and find out if mediation is for you
Our mediators have had special training to equip them with the skills they need to offer professional support. They devote attention to the emotional side of divorce, to its legal aspects, and the interests of the children. If you’re wondering whether mediation would be a good idea in your situation, do feel free to come and see us. You can register for a free introductory meeting either by calling us on +31 71 7502205 or by completing and returning the form at the bottom of the page. The idea behind the introductory meeting, which will take up no more than 30 minutes of your time, is to inform you in general terms about the mediation process .
Subsidised legal support/free legal aid
Before contacting us, we would advise you to find out whether you qualify for government-subsidised legal support, also known as legal aid. See www.rvr.org/english, where you can also download a brochure with information on legal aid in the Netherlands.
As a rule, we do not work as ‘assigned lawyers’ for clients on legal aid. If one of you qualifies for legal aid, please contact us to explore the options. If both of you want to use subsidised legal support, please contact the Juridisch Loket on 0900-8020 (€0.25 p/m). They will refer you to a lawyer or mediator who works for clients who have been granted legal aid.
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