Mediation or what?

If you’re thinking of getting divorced, you’re told that mediation is a sensible, constructive and inexpensive alternative to a court battle.  Who could possibly disagree with that?  Nobody, of course.

It’s just that the alternative to mediation is not a court battle.  Most divorcing couples sort out their financial arrangements by direct discussion between themselves or by civilised negotiation between solicitors.

Of all the financial divorce orders made in England and Wales in 2010 (the most recent year for which the Office for National Statistics has published figures), 94% were made by consent, in other words without a court battle.  Ninety four per cent.

So, if somebody tells you that you really ought to choose mediation if you want to avoid fighting it out in court, they’re misleading you.

Bear that 94% statistic in mind the next time you come across a mention of mediation in a newspaper or a magazine, on radio or television, or on the website of the Ministry of Justice or on the website of an organisation selling mediation services.

The ‘mediation or court battle’ misinformation is widespread.