Louisa Whitney, who started LKW Family Mediation in 2013, has recently been taking part in a mediation hour on twitter. The purpose of this is to allow people to ask questions about mediation. Why is this important? There are three main reasons:
1. Despite government and other advertising campaigns not enough people are aware that mediation is available to separating couples. A number of people still believe that court is the only option for separating couples to resolve matters. This is absolutely not the case. Mediation remains one of the most constructive, quickest (and therefore cost effective) ways for couples who separate to resolve matters. For those experiencing a separation it is important that they understand how to try to come to a resolution in a way that helps, rather than hurts, all those involved.
2. Taking questions and answers to twitter enables people who wouldn’t normally come into contact with mediators or lawyers to ask questions. They might be going through a separation themselves, or have a friend or family member who is struggling with one. Making professionals available on twitter with a hashtag makes it easy for anyone to ask a question. No question is too big or small (you can always use 2 or 3 tweets!).
3. Even where people are not separating it is helpful for them to still be aware that mediation exists as an option. 1 in 3 marriages currently end in divorce (the statistics for non-married relationships are harder to collate) and so, sadly, statistically everyone is likely to know someone who experiences a relationship breakdown at some point. Being able to give helpful, and constructive help to a loved one in such a situation is essential. Friends and family can often feel helpless and not sure what to say for the best. By understanding what mediation is about you may be able to help a friend or family member in the future.
Look out for the #mediationhour tweets. The next sessions will be Thursday 16th April between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Thursday 23rd April between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The mediators involved may also look at covering specific topics such as parenting to further demonstrate how mediation works and how it can help separating couples.