People choose Family Mediation Bangor (and other non-court paths such as collaborative law) to resolve issues that arise as a result of their separation for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include the desire to resolve matters amicably with their former partner (at a cost that is lower than going to court), and the desire to maintain or develop a positive parental relationship for the benefit of their children.
But as Mediation Bangor Week comes to a close, it is important to keep in mind, particularly in this celebrity culture, that another major benefit of Mediation Bangor is that it takes place in a quiet and, if matters can be agreed upon, does not need to go before a judge sitting in court. This is especially appealing to high-profile individuals who want to keep their relationship matters away from the prying eyes of the media. Mediation Bangor Week has come to an end.
A formal Transparency Consultation is currently being conducted, and already a number of judges are allowing reporters to attend divorce and family proceedings and report broadly on the proceedings. There is a growing call for the family courts to open up to the media, with a formal Transparency Consultation currently being conducted. It is therefore likely that the inclusion of confidentiality agreements in family agreements would become an even more essential bargaining chip in negotiations to reach a cash settlement than it already is. For example, one could say something along the lines of, “I will give you more money if you agree to sign up to these confidentiality agreements and not go to trial,” in an effort to persuade the other party to sign the confidentiality clauses and avoid going to court. But those celebrity couples who want to keep their relations private, as many do (or don’t even want the knowledge that they are going to court appearing in the media), have the option of agreeing at the outset to negotiate using non-court processes such as Mediation Bangor or collaborative law rather than going to court. This is something that many celebrity couples do.
It is a common misunderstanding that high-net-worth individuals and celebrities are cluttering up the English courts with their divorces (the dream of journalists), or racking up huge bills with top London divorce solicitors (the dream of lawyers). In reality, there are many people who are discreetly working out the details of their separation, along with financial arrangements and those of their children, with the assistance of a mediator and/or lawyers in private for the benefit of their families. I’ve been a mediator for a good number of years, and during that time I’ve worked with clients from all over the entertainment industry, including A-list actors and musicians, as well as clients from other high-profile professions, such as politicians and journalists, who have chosen Mediation Bangor so that they can maintain the level of privacy that they so desperately seek. These high-profile people, just like the rest of us, but perhaps even more so, want to keep their private life, yes, private. For some of them, it could be disastrous for their image or livelihoods if the family secrets – warts and all – are leaked in the media, which is a risk if the case goes to court. There are many different models available for clients these days, including hybrid (shuttle) mediation, Mediation Bangor with lawyers, and collaborative practise that eliminates the need to go to court. While the more traditional family mediation model (with one mediator and the couple) is certainly not right for many people (and particularly if there is a significant power imbalance), there are many different models available these days that clients can choose from. I never present Mediation Bangor as an easy process; it’s not a good fit for people who only want “revenge,” and clients should ideally be emotionally equipped for it to operate properly. I never pitch mediation as an easy process because it’s not suited for such people. Those who choose to participate in Mediation Bangor, on the other hand, are aware of the mediator’s mantra, which states that a good outcome is not one with which they should expect to be happy about – after all, why should they be happy when they are going through what is likely to be the most difficult experience that they and their family have ever gone through? – but rather, a good outcome is one with which they are both comfortable and able to live with, and which they’ve never had imposed upon them.
To move forward with mediation or collaborative law, couples need to sign an agreement in which they agree to basic confidentiality provisions. Additionally, as part of a larger agreement about the financial outcome, it is not unusual for couples to agree to specific confidentiality clauses, such as not disclosing the terms of the final deal, but sometimes wider clauses that cover aspects of the couple’s private relationships or histories. This is done to protect the privacy of the couple during the Mediation Bangor or collaborative law process. When it comes to the cases that I’ve worked on over the years, I’ve found that it’s quite helpful to get the perspective of my colleagues on our reputation management team, who often advise clients on matters pertaining to privacy concerns.
And if the fully voluntary Mediation Bangor process ends up being unsuccessful, clients who once again want to steer clear of the scrutiny of the courts have the option of opting for arbitration, which is a venue in which a private judge may impose a binding decision on the parties involved. Arbitration, much like mediation, is becoming an increasingly common form of dispute resolution for high-profile customers; yet, celebrity journalists almost never choose this route.