I watched the BBC programme Mr v Mrs last night. This documentary follows several separated couples attending mediation to deal with the arrangements for their children and the financial consequences of divorce.
I am pleased there is sufficient interest in family mediation for programmes such as this to be made. Anything that raises the profile and use of mediation in family disputes, as an alternative to litigation, is great news for family lawyers.
There were some elements of the programme I felt were unhelpful, including allowing one party to refuse to give financial disclosure sought by the other until an "agreement" was reached. The basis of mediation is that it is voluntary, without prejudice and based on full financial disclosure.
I was also disappointed by the example of shuttle mediation. In my experience as both a qualified mediator and family lawyer, shuttle mediation has limited use in family disputes due to the lost benefit of parties negotiating and discussing issues face to face.
The BBC series continues next week!
If you are interested in understanding more about family mediation, please do not hesitate to contact me.
With privileged access to the private world of family mediation, this BBC Two documentary series will provide a unique insight into an element of modern British family life rarely seen by others.