Mediation Q&A with David Allison
David Allison is a director and senior family mediator at Family Law in Partnership. He draws on his skills as a leading family lawyer and collaborative practitioner to assist clients through the family mediation process. Below are David’s answers to some commonly asked questions about family mediation.
- What is mediation?
Mediation is a constructive forum for resolving disputes. The mediator provides a safe, neutral and confidential space in which facilitated discussions take place aimed at resolving whatever issues need to be resolved. The process is also legally privileged which means that the discussions and proposals cannot be referred to in court if the issues need to be resolved there. This enables the participants to consider options without fear that their ability to compromise will be referred to in court.
- How long have you been a mediator for?
Over 20 years!
- What is your mediation style?
It is important for a mediator to listen and understand what really concerns the people in mediation and what they want to achieve. So, listening is a big part of what I do. Keeping the discussions balanced (so no one person has all the ‘air time’) is also important as well as keeping people focused on what they are in mediation to do – to come to an agreement.
I also think it is important to provide good legal information (which my nearly 30 years as a family lawyer helps me to do!) so that agreements reached will be ones that lawyers can support and which will stand the test of time.
- What issues does your mediation practice cover?
Any issue that is within the broad framework of family law. I have a particular focus on financial claims arising out of divorce and separation, especially those with complex assets and/or international issues including questions of jurisdiction. I also deal with issues surrounding children including international relocation.
- If I had a very strained relationship with my ex-partner, would mediation be suitable?
Mediation can be effective in a wide variety of situations. Of course, it must be safe and each person must be able to say what they feel is important. Very often there is an imbalance of power between the parties and it is my role to redress that. Mediation can also be set up in a way that reduces or eliminates direct contact between the parties. So, it can be effective even with the most difficult of situations.
- The court are involved in my case, can I still try mediation alongside the court process?
Absolutely! Many people come to mediation when they have a live legal dispute before the court. So often, finding that safe and neutral environment can enable the most intractable of issues to be resolved without the costs and stress of the court process.
Judges have a duty to consider mediation and other dispute resolution options and will often encourage parties involved in litigation to mediate.
- What will you do if I reach an agreement in mediation?
If an agreement is reached I draw up a detailed summary of the agreement for the parties to take to their lawyers for advice and implementation.
- What sets you apart from other mediators?
I am told that I am completely unflappable and able to hold the parties to the mediation process where others might fail. My years of experience as a family lawyer and family mediator also enable me to know the sort of outcomes that work for the parties and will satisfy the lawyers and the court.
- I am in the midst of negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement with my fiancée. There are a few points which we are not agreed on; can we attend mediation together to finalise the agreement?
Yes, may people find that mediation provides a positive process for negotiating relationship agreements including pre-nups.
- How do I get in touch?
Contact me directly (details below) or through my assistant Louise Vane and I can talk you through the process and my charges for mediation.
David’s mediation work covers all issues although he has particular expertise in financial claims on divorce or separation, particularly those with an international element. David is well known for his expertise in the legal issues affecting cohabitants, same sex couples and civil partners. Contact David below.