Could hybrid mediation be the holy grail? Sarah Manning

Tamsin speaks to family mediator Sarah Manning about hybrid meditation and how it can be used for couples, including those who have suffered abuse and domestic violence.

I am a Senior Associate Solicitor and accredited family mediator and highly experienced having previously worked in family law for over 10 years. I advise and assist individuals in all aspects of private family law matters. I am also a Director of Family Mediators Association, a member organisation for mediators in a voluntary capacity and I have an input into the future of mediation. I am also the chair of the Family Mediation Week committee raising awareness of family mediation. I was also short listed for ‘Mediator of the Year 2020’ in the National Mediation Awards. I am a member of Resolution which is an organisation setup for professionals who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters. I pride myself on the service I deliver and ensure that I have a good rapport with my clients whilst remaining focused on achieving the best possible outcome. I pride myself on dealing with matters amicably whilst ensuring that my client’s needs or any children involved are at the forefront of any discussions and arrangements reached. In some instances, court is of course necessary and I will do everything I can to keep matters constructive and non-confrontational whilst achieving the best possible result for my client. As a mediator, I am also qualified as a hybrid mediator which follows more of the civil mediation model and allows other professionals to be involved within the process. This is more suitable to high conflict, complex and high net worth cases. I also recently qualified as a Child Inclusive Mediator which allows me to speak to children within the mediation and allow them to have a voice. I offer a free initial consultation to all new clients as I believe it is important that both the legal advisor and the client should have a good rapport with one another, and the client is both relaxed and has confidence in the advice provided before they proceed. Meetings can take place either face to face, over the phone, by email or through Microsoft Teams/Zoom.

Senior Associate / Solicitor Mediator
Direct Dial: 0113 336 3435
Mobile: 07741 667 370

Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at or arrange a free initial meeting using She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK

Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd


(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. In series four, we're going to be talking to various different professionals and authors who have gone through divorce and dissolution of a civil partnership, to talk about the future, and how you can start helping things to look much more positively. And we have some fantastic guests lined up. But if there is anything specific that you would like us to cover, please do get in touch. And you can contact me through our website, And I look forward to hearing from you soon. Enjoy. Hello, and welcome to Smart Divorce podcast. My conversation today is all about hybrid mediation. Hybrid mediation is really quite different to the traditional types of mediation that are around and my guest today, Sarah is trained in hybrid mediation. And so we talk about what it is, how it works. And finally, how it might be used in some circumstances, that mediation is not normally considered appropriate. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Let's jump straight in. - Hi, and welcome. I'm delighted to be joined today by Sarah Manning of Clarion Solicitors. How are you, Sarah?

Sarah Manning 1:42
I'm good. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Tamsin Caine 1:45
My pleasure. It's really good tip for you to join us today. So Sarah is a Senior Associate Solicitor and accredited family mediator and highly experienced having previously worked in family law for over 10 years. She advises and assist individuals in all aspects, private family law matters. And she also has reams of other things to her name for your belt to read all about that in the bio of this podcast. And but to start with, we're going to get cracking. So today we're going to be talking about mediation. And because January is mediation month, so lots of things going on this month about mediation and it's something that's really close to my heart because it helps people to divorce amicably and out of court. And so tell me a bit more about how you get involved in mediation, Sarah?

Sarah Manning 2:43
Yeah, no, that's fine. And so in terms of my involvement for the mediation, we get referrals either direct from the general public, and sometimes people come to us and they've not yet started the process and the computer mediator, I get referrals from other solicitors so parties might already have their solicitor and they're exploring mediation as a means to resolve their financial or children dispute.

Tamsin Caine 3:05
Okay, that's opposed, we should start off by explaining what mediation is. So what's, what's the difference between mediation and using a traditional family lawyer.

Sarah Manning 3:18
So the difference with mediation so upset, I am a practising solicitor as well as a family mediator. So I have to make sure I've got the right hat on with each job that I do. Because for any, if I was dealing with it, for a legal matter, I obviously couldn't do the mediation for my clients, I'd have to send them off to another mediator. And the same the other way as well. I couldn't give legal advice to my mediation clients. So I've got to make sure that which capacity they're in I stick with that same hat on and sorry, so again, the beginning questions.

Tamsin Caine 3:50
So tell me what what what is mediation? What's the difference between mediation and just using a normal family lawyer?

Sarah Manning 3:58
Yeah, so the difference with a mediation is so when I'm dealing with it in the mediation capacity, I can't give legal advice so I'm there as I would say, a bit like a referee, you know, between between them both to try and come up with some sort of solutions. And because I'm a practising solicitor as well we do follow the same sort of protocol. So say for instance, in financial matters, we might do the financial disclosure part still and and go through that but I'm not giving the parties advice. That's what they need to go through to their solicitors and there as a mutual third party and impartial to try and move things along and get a resolution between them. Because often what happens with when you with solicitors is you get your clients to come in you take their instructions, maybe for an hour you write a letter, it gets sent to the parties. It might take a few more weeks before they reply then they get their client in draft a letter clients got through approve it goes through the person before you know it months have gone by just dealing with the general questions that have gone on and it's not really progressing things forward and sometimes the other part is read The Letter and read it in a different context. And that's what they mean. So getting both parties in a room together with myself there, then we can look at them issues and get answers straight away rather than having to wait. So it is much more cost effective. And it's a much quicker process. And sometimes, like I said, depending on which solicitor you instruct, some are more litigious in their approach, and you know, the way that the right letters, it can be construed differently. And I think that's really important, especially with children matters that, you know, parents are there to co parent and, you know, to deal with things. And I think sometimes things get lost in translation through solicitors. So I think if people are able to sit down and work it out, I think mediations much more amicable, amicable way of dealing with with disputes.

Tamsin Caine 5:42
Yeah, absolutely. So if I've, if I've understood this right, mediation is you're not going to advise them in any way, you're there to keep them on track and make sure that they're moving forward properly, and actually getting somewhere in terms of answering questions that that each party has and trying to come to some sort of agreement. And that can be on either financial matters, or it can be to do with the children, or can it be both,

Sarah Manning 6:12
it can be both. So often, I deal with both. Sometimes people are doing financial matters through this list, and they come to me for children, so I can do one. And I always explain to clients that it's their process. So I can do as much or as little as they want to. Sometimes they've done all the they want me to do all the finances, and they just need to speak about maybe child maintenance. They've got everything, and they just want to have a more detailed plan. And for the children. So I can do as much or as little as the parties want, really. And I always say to them, that's what's good about mediation is the flexibility of that. Really.

Tamsin Caine 6:46
Yeah, absolutely. So there are a number of different types of mediation models. So could Can you just run through the different options that are available for mediation?

Sarah Manning 6:59
Yeah. So in terms of the what I've called the traditional model, where I'd get both parties in together, it'd be myself sat there with him birth in the room. And a lot of the times I'm saying in the room, but that could be also on Zoom, but all on the same screen together. And since the pandemic is becoming more the norm, I feel for it to be done on Zoom, and it's whatever parties feel comfortable. And I have started now doing face to face mediations. So that's the more traditional model. And then I'm also qualified to do the hybrid mediation, which allows parties to have professionals involved in the mediation process. Even before even the traditional model, you can have parties on the shuttle basis with the parties don't want to see each other, they don't even want to be on the same screen and zoom on Zoom or in person, I can deal with them separately on a shuttle basis. And if people need that additional support said they needed to divorce coach with them for support, or they wanted a financial neutral with them, or they wanted their solicitor to present, the hybrid mediation or, like an advanced model of mediation can also work to help that dispute because if it is high net worth, complex financial matters, having that additional support from solicitors does help because I'd always say my mediations because I can't give legal advice will one of the tasks to do for the next one is go get the legal advice. So sometimes that can delay matters, because then you've got to both go get your solicitors and then come back. Whereas if the solicitors was in the room with them at that same time, it can be a lot more cost effective, because we're dealing with it. And again, we haven't got that where they've got to get appointments in. So it's up to the client to sort of weigh up on that and how cost effective cost effective it is for them. And also I think the hybrid is really good for when there's high conflict between the parties. Because when you are going back and forth between the rooms on a shuttle basis, sometimes the other person sat for maybe 15 minutes, 20 minutes on the road, and they can feel like they're in a pressure cooker. So sometimes I've gone to say like the wife and she's asked her a question, and I'm coming back to tell the husband, he's been sat there for 15 minutes, it's wrote down loads of questions that he wants to know. And I'm trying to then tell him what the wife said. And they're wanting to talk about you. And it's so hard to manage the situation. Whereas I think if they were sat there with their solicitor, they've been able to talk to somebody in between or if they had a divorce coach with them. And they've got someone to talk in that time and be aware of what's been going on and maybe reframe what I've already said to him, talk it through and I just think sometimes for them, the hybrid mediation would be a good place for like the high conflict complex matters.

Tamsin Caine 9:35
Yeah, absolutely. So does hybrid mediation always take place as shuttle as in where the parties are in different rooms or just some of it take place all in the same room.

Sarah Manning 9:46
And now you can it reached the roll and I think if people are getting on together and happy to see each other face to face with the hybrid, it would be good to get everybody together in one room to explain you know the agreements immediate that way After doing the the rules of how mediation is going to go and how things are planned, it's good to have speak to everyone as a whole, but then you would in the shuttle with a hybrid model, you would have to then go in separate rooms for me to go back and forth. But it doesn't mean that we can't all have group sessions. And again, I'm very flexible. And it's up to each individual circumstances of and what they want to do is they're happy to do that all together. But the norm would be to sort of get together at the beginning and then go separately. And it may be that you come back together at the end, you know, if you've been able to reach an agreement, but yeah, it's obviously it is fairly flexible. And I think that's what's great about the hybrid mediation.

Tamsin Caine 10:38
Yeah, absolutely. And something that that strikes me about the hybrid is that quite often you hear stories where in in traditional mediation, the clients have come to an agreement, but then go off to their individual solicitors. And this list is questioning the agreement they've come to, I assume that I haven't this list, is there in the room involved in the mediation like they are in hybrid? You can avoid that to some extent, is that the case?

Sarah Manning 11:06
Yeah, yeah. So one of the things as well that people do, and I explain this to them in the assessment meeting, is that we can start off as the traditional model that they're, they're doing it together, and then when they've reached the coming to reach an agreement, or the final stages at the solicitors come involved at that point. And then they can, what usually would happen is I draft what's called a memorandum of understanding, setting out what they've agreed. And but the solicitors could come in that last session, and they could agree the terms of the consent order and brush it up between them, if they want in agreement to certain class, then I could, obviously, I could obviously, you know, speak to him about that, and go back and forth, because one of the mediations that I had before, where, for myself, I was a solicitor, and I've referred to mediation. One of the cases that unravelled from mediation was the fact that did not look to who's going to pay for the pension share. And so my client was the husband, and he just said, I've had enough, she won't even agree that let's just forget the whole thing, and it ended up at court. Whereas I think if I'd have gone into that last session for the mediation would have talked would have crossed all the T's dotted the I's, and would have avoided that situation. But because the media didn't discuss that it was like the icing on the cake, you know, for my client, it just had enough that you'd have to run paying for everything. And so I think, you know that, that does help a lot.

Tamsin Caine 12:28
Yeah, thank you. Right. And there's another part to hybrid mediation in the EU can hold confidences, can't new as a as a mediator in hybrid.

Sarah Manning 12:39
Yeah. So in terms of the competences? Yeah. So first, when I went on the hybrid training, I thought the main difference was having professionals involved. But I think one of the main reasons is the competence is that you can keep and that does really help when you do the shuffle. This is because separate parents parties want to tell you lots of stuff. And it's not really relevant, you don't want to say ignore it, but it's not relevant to moving forwards and reaching an agreement. So and we before you go in the hybrid, which is a bit more like the civil model, you would write down exactly what you're going to go back with the other side and try help. You know, the fact that one part is decided their analysis that this and that it's not really like we can't change people how they are, it's not helpful for moving things forward to get a settlement done. If we're then going back and saying, that's what's been said, or it's been said, when we're holding the room. So I can, you know, we can take things out, then then what the other person you know, needs to know. And equally for settlement purposes, when we're going back and forth, we're very clear in what's been said, we're going back with a clear offer, where is when you do the traditional model I have even when it's on a ship, so you've got to be really, you know, that you're not keeping anything from the other part of it is very transparent. And it's a lot of pressure, as a mediator to do that. When you're trying to write notes and manage both parties. In each room. Were you really conscious, how long you've left the other person and things so it gives that more flexibility with the hybrid? Yeah, absolutely.

Tamsin Caine 14:07
And from your experience, how would a financial neutral cuz you mentioned that before. So I suppose we should first start off by talking about what a financial neutral is. So can you explain what they are to begin with?

Sarah Manning 14:20
Yeah, so a financial neutral would be really helpful in the mediation process, because they might myself as a mediator, they're impartial. So they're not active for one person or the other. And they could come into the mediation and look at well, what what will their financial position be and effect on them both with pensions and things, if we went on this settlement? So one of the things that occurs I'm doing now is it's not about looking short term, how it's going to meet the party's needs. Now, it's about looking well, let's have a look on retirement. What will that mean for them? If they got this much of the pension or this much? What would it mean for them at that time? And I think having somebody involved at that time and even talking about things Like insurances life insurance and having that information because as Solicitor mediator myself, I'm not able to give financial advice. So having someone there with us is helpful. And also the cash flow models, you know, to look at, if the wife had said, or the husband had an income of this, what how would that meet their needs and stuff? So I think it's really good to be if you're able to see it on a graph on my imagery of that, and so that the parties can actually see oh, this is what it will actually look like. It's really helpful to move things forward.

Tamsin Caine 15:32
Yeah, absolutely. So financial neutrals, not not providing advice, just one person, they're giving the advice to both parties. And I think the other thing is that they they're hearing it from the same person. So for example, if you're talking through the pensions and what benefits there they offer and how they work, both parties hearing it from the same person rather than weren't hearing it from their advisor and near the hearing it from somebody different and maybe not explained in the same way. So I think that can be that can be useful. So in terms of, of that, how I assume that they would exchange financial information in that you bring good financial neutral into the process later on.

Sarah Manning 16:20
Yeah. So when you get to the proposal stages, so I tend to say to clients, the first session that you have is to deal with financial disclosure, because any solicitor advising the client in mediation will say, we can't give you any specific legal advice until we've seen full and frank financial disclosure. So I think it's really important to get that part out and ask any questions to have, you know, if they're happy with everything that's been disclosed? Because if they're not, then it might be the end of the road for mediation, because I can't compel somebody to produce bank statements. If they're saying they don't want to do what are the category on the business valuation? So we need to get all that part of the things out of the way. And then I think the financial neutral would come in, if when we have a session to deal with proposals on the table. And and look at that.

Tamsin Caine 17:03
Yeah, no, that makes that makes a lot of sense. So for the clients, I know, you've talked about cost being a benefit of using hybrid mediation. And my suppose financial brains thinking Hang on a minute, I'm going to have there's going to be two solicitors in the room and mediator, possibly at some point, there's going to be a financial advisor, that sounds like a lot of people that I'm going to be paying, yes, all of them rather than just paying a mediator. What? What would you say to that?

Sarah Manning 17:40
I think that what for me, my cost is a mediator, I don't charge anything more for the hybrid mediation per hour than I would do for normal mediation, I think what's differences would probably be more prep work. And I'd have to charge something for preparation, I might have conversations with the financial neutral, and the solicitor separately beforehand. So we all agree how it's going to run. And so and the sessions tend to last longer than the traditional model, which tends to be an hour and a half to two hours. So there is additional costs in that. But if you compare that to the cost of going to litigation, so if mediation doesn't succeed, the next thing is if they want to go to court, then they would have to go through the financial processing, financial disclosure process, again, the documents and the cost thing goes through the roof. So I still think it is more cost effective with a and also with it, the more hybrid you'd use in more complex or high net worth cases, and that you stopping it from going to court and having more experts involved. And I think you can, you know, some students just instructing a pension actuary, you know, let us can go back and forth between solicitors of what we're actually asking the accurate, financial neutral can assist with what terms we're going to do, and they can assist because I can as a mediator in that session, obviously my solicitor head on I'd be able to say what it should do, but I can't say what the should and shouldn't be putting in that letter where a financial neutral, be able to speak to both parties find out what they want, and we could help do that with the solicitors which might assist a little bit more.

Tamsin Caine 19:08
Yeah. So it's, it's a time saving as much as anything above the traditional version of mediation. But obviously a cut a huge cost saving compared with the cost of going to court and it seems also an emotional saving, if I don't know how you measure that, but the emotional toll of going to court and and also the timescales at the moment, because it seems to be a long time to get an appointment in court at the moment. I don't know is that has that been your experience as well?

Sarah Manning 19:43
Yeah, definitely. You stuck to the courts timetable as well. If we did a hybrid mediation, we have everybody round we've agreed in everyone's diaries. And we have fantastic facilities here at Clarion with plenty of rooms that we can accommodate and parking. When you go to car that's out of your control, you get given a day, you don't know what you're gonna get. And there's certain process that you've to follow. And the process is the same whether you work stocking shelves in Tesco and you earn minimum wage to you were multi million pound business owner, there's the same process and the documents that you have to go through. And it can be quite expensive. So that I think that's the that's the difference with it really. And like I said, the flexibility where the car is so rigid in their procedures and processes.

Tamsin Caine 20:30
Yeah, no, I think I think you're absolutely right. And and certainly some of the delays that there are at the moment in the court process, it's it's certainly good to to consider these other options as well. And I'm never a massive fan of court, because I think it can be tricky afterwards for parenting if you've had this court battle and spent huge amounts of money on on going through court. And essentially, it's money that comes out of of the family part, doesn't it? Yes, I do sometimes think that people think there's this divorce fairy that will come along and pay the divorce costs. In reality, that's it. That's not not a thing. Is it? So?

Sarah Manning 21:12
No. And I think as well with the I don't just say it mediation, alright, well, mediation is not words, go to court explore other avenues of alternative dispute resolution. So one of the cases I did we agreed everything at mediation apart from who was going to stay in the family home. So it seemed just proportionate to go to court and exchange financial disclosure go through all the process the hearings, for when that was the only issue. So they went to arbitration, then and the dealt with it on paper, the board put the case forwards for an arbitrator to make that decision. So I can also assist in the hybrid process of where to go next. And what what they do and help him that way as well.

Tamsin Caine 21:50
That's interesting. So when the case when that guy went to arbitration, it was just that one question being asked of the arbitrator. And how did how did that work? Then did were they supported by their solicitors did or did they have to get counsel involved and so on?

Sarah Manning 22:09
Well, it's difficult because there's a media that happened and I never hear anything back from that, which is just frustrating. But in a solicitor capacity, where we've dealt with things like that before, you would then get, you probably most likely get a barrister to assist with the drafting of the application. Or if spend an hour straightforward, you solicit, I might just be able to help you. If it's on paper, and you put your argument forward, and then you get a response back. And you both agree to then to deal with it on that basis.

Tamsin Caine 22:37
So we Oh, right. Okay, this is news to me. So you can get an arbitrator to deal with something and you don't meet with the arbitrator, you just put your arguments forward.

Sarah Manning 22:49
You can agree to do it. Yeah, yeah.

Tamsin Caine 22:53
Oh, I didn't know that was even a thing.

Sarah Manning 22:55
Obviously, if it's complex, if it's more than just happens, that you're not with children, if the cat agree with something that's happening, obviously, finances, it might be not as well. But you might be able to if you know, if you like a few, you're not far apart, and then you decide to go to an arbitrator, because the financial disclosure is not an issue. Whereas if you went to court, you'd have to have your first appointment, you'd have to complete update for me, you'd have to ask questionnaires on that, you know, there's a whole process and then you can't you, you wouldn't be able to just jump straight to the FDR of final hearing, if that's what you needed, because you've already tried to negotiate, you need the final hearing of those processes that you have to go. So it might be, you know, six to nine months or something to get that reply where with the arbitrator, you can find a local arbitrator, it doesn't come up, they don't have enough to be local, it can be anybody in the country. And you can find an arbitrator specific to family where judge you might not get one that specifically to that area, and get them to look at it on that basis. So I think it's it's a really good option. It's a pity. I don't know the outcome of that case, but I'm pretty sure they've got a decision of husband and wife but you know, yeah,

Tamsin Caine 24:02
it's to agree to abide by the arbitrator as well, don't they? Yeah, yeah. So that it's it is essentially like having a judge make a judgement. Yeah. Yeah. So that that's really, that's really useful. I didn't realise you could have an arbitrator get involved just to to make one bond decision.

Sarah Manning 24:23
So say, for instance, pensions are always a big massive issue. As you know, and so that could be you know, if it's just the pension that the category on that's something that's worth looking at,

Tamsin Caine 24:37
and they're not really interested. So I'm interested, we've we've spoken to Rhys Taylor, about arbitration and about private FDRs. Actually, yeah, I'm interested in what would what as from kind of the mediation point if there's still something that that's up for debate Why would you choose an up toaster over over, for example, using a private FDR?

Sarah Manning 25:06
Because the private FDR is not, you don't have to agree to it. So then you could end up spending all that money on a private FDR and then starting the car process and arbitration, it seems to be, you know, abided by,

Tamsin Caine 25:18
right. Okie dokie. So their private FDR is an indication of what, what the they might feel might should happen, but they don't have to abide by it that that's is that right? Yeah.

Sarah Manning 25:33
Yeah. Well, that's got for both parties quite dedicated to it. If there's a, you know, it's probably not the right process. If you think that someone's not going to agree,

Tamsin Caine 25:40
agree to that. Yeah, they're not the midsole of the outcome, because it's assumed

Sarah Manning 25:43
risk when you go to an FDR. And then you get the judge, that gives you an indication of what they'd say would be the outcome. And then if you decide to go to a final hearing and not listen to them, there's a risky game, obviously, that said, Judge doesn't look at the case again. And so you risk it in another judge that has a different opinion. So the FDA has given that opinion, which might help the parties to settle when someone's looked at independent from them. So that's the hope of the FDR, both the arbitration you'd get an outcome.

Tamsin Caine 26:13
Yeah, absolutely. It seems price. Right.

Unknown Speaker 26:18
So it's just that people take a fee. I think that was what why people still go down court is because you get a courtt fee, that you have to pay, which is minimal, and then you don't pay for each hearing that you have, you don't pay for that judge. When you do arbitration, you pay in for the judges time, and you might have to hire some premises and, you know, for it to take place and things like that. So I think, you know, it is quicker, and, and you're more in control. But yeah, I think people see that the court because you pay this coffee, and you don't have to pay anything else. So I think there's that's why people do it. Really?

Tamsin Caine 26:53
Yeah. Can't can still be expensive, though, if you've got counsel involved? And if it if it rolls over to a different day, or or whatever. Yeah, can can still be sued? can still be paid. gone too far. Definitely. Okay, that's fantastic. Is there anything else that that I should have asked you about? About how mediation?

Sarah Manning 27:21
And I think you've, you've covered most of the things I think, you know, in terms of me about why choose hybrid mediation, I think the things that I'd say is that it's cost effective, you've got the benefit of legal advice in the session, if that's the professional that you use it, it's quicker, fewer sessions required, less likely to fail, because everybody's involved in that session. I do think reduces conflicts and eliminates protracted correspondence, you know, between the parties that can sometimes inflame situations, feel like parties feel empowered. So I think Hagrid really good unite with domestic violence, which is something we haven't talked about, where if they, you know, if they were to go to court, they would still see that other person at the car, or even if you have screens, you still hearing their advice? Well, through the hybrid mediation on the shuttle, I can make sure they don't see each other at all, or hear from the other person. And it's dealt with in a confidential nature. And I think sometimes that that can be difficult for people. And where people previously have sailed as domestic violence mediations not suitable, or now it's done on Zoom and things like that, that can be sat in the comfort of their own home, they're not at risk coming into the office, because even before when we sell the car, but I still can't control what goes on outside of the building, at least people when they're in their own home on zoo, if someone's comes at the door, you can fund the police and things like that. And I think having a when there's a real imbalance of powers between both parties, when I did a hybrid mediation where it was I was the solicitor and it not the mediator. And my client was as being suffered from domestic violence in mental capacity, where he was quite overpowering the mediations, but I was there with her to talk on her behalf. And she felt empowered, unable to speak up, where sometimes at mediation, if there is that coercive control or domestic violence, that they don't feel that they can voice their concerns, I feel that they're able to stand up to the other person. So it's a good option for me when I do the assessment means when I speak to both parties to have that as an option to them, and when I'm discussing it, people are really wanting to take it on board as well.

Tamsin Caine 29:26
Yeah, I think that's really worth saying, isn't it because like you say people are experiencing domestic violence, they don't necessarily want to go to court because don't want to see that the person but they don't want to sit in mediation, but if they're on Zoom, and then they don't even see that other person on screen because they're in shuttle so they're in one room and you're and their partner or ex partner is in another room and they've got this list too with them so they can kind of talk them down a bit as well. I think that's that's really a really good idea and they can have a divorce coach with them as well. Currently,

Sarah Manning 30:00
yeah, yeah, if that's what they're wanting to do. And I think sometimes I've been the support of the divorce coach, when I'm with the other parties being there, that they reframe things that I've said, or if there's something that's triggers their domestic violence, that the divorce coach can help reframe what's been said. And that's what's good about doing the hybrid, that I can take away what the other party is saying, I'm saying, husband and wife, but it can always the driver can reframe what the other party is saying, to not trigger something off of like PTSD, and you know, from an traumatic event that they've got. So the thing about holding confidence in hybrid mediation, I can look at, well, we need to reach a certain whether like it or not, we're going to have to, if it's children, our finances talk things through, but at least they're not having to listen to that person and, you know, trigger things that they've done before, it can be dealt with in a much more controlled way than even caught, because I once had to initiate a court case. And there were domestic violence. And there was literally a screen between us, you could see see the other person's hands flying about, you know, when there was quite expression is when they were moving. And you can hear the voice. And I think it's not just about seeing them, it's triggering something off of listening to them as well. And with the court hearings, even though the bit better now they're on Microsoft Teams are on BT meet me, but it's still triggering that them issues of listening to them speak. And yeah,

Tamsin Caine 31:22
that's really good. That's something that I hadn't thought of, because more and more, I am coming across cases where there's an it may not be physical violence, in terms of domestic abuse, but it might be economic abuse, financial abuse, abuse, or like, say coercive control. And to not have to hear that other person, I think, a lot of clients who aren't even considering mediation because they're like, Oh, I couldn't be in the same room as him. Or her. That option is, is there too for them? Isn't it? I think that's, that's a really good point to me.

Sarah Manning 31:58
And zoom was great on that with the breakout rooms because of the clicking a button and moving between the rooms. And it's really easy to do and manage.

Tamsin Caine 32:06
Yeah, yeah. And you know, accidentally gonna put them all in one room.

Sarah Manning 32:11
When I first started doing that I was practising with everybody in the office to move people around, you know, once you've got the knack of it, it's really easy to do.

Tamsin Caine 32:20
That's good. That's good. Fantastic. Is there anything else that you want to add to what we've said?

Sarah Manning 32:28
No, no, I think we've, we've covered everything. The only other thing that just just to mention about how I deal with things as a solicitor mediator, when I'm doing so as a mediation, we I don't tend to use like the financial booklets that I know that some of the media is do, I've tended to do with the for me, which is the document that use that car, and I think by me supporting parties through the mediation, I can help them fill them in if they need to. And then if mediation breaks down, they've got them that document and the use of the form of a form in the knot, then pain for the solicitors to then go through it. And also with the assistance of divorce coaches, they use the term that they know explain the terminologies and things like that with them. So for me, as a solicitor mediator, I tend to use the for me straightaway, not to Donna, but I think then we've got more time that we can go through things. So the use of this form, so caught does happen, they're not then then sent another form to fill out the guy already ready. So it's a nice mediation is not always suitable for everyone. Calculate where the magic wand to make people compromise and negotiate. But what we can do is then do as much as we can in mediation to either set it or prefer over Alternative Dispute Resolutions to resolve the matter, or at least prepare them for then if they go into court, that they're not duplicating costs and time and that they know what's happening with the next. So that's something that I feel quite passionate about as a mediator.

Tamsin Caine 33:52
Yeah, I think that's absolutely right. We do similarly in news and news for me because they don't want to be paying lots of different professionals, lots of different money to fill this. Give the same information just in different formats. I think. So yeah. I think you're absolutely right on that. Sarah, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been a real pleasure to talk to you about this. Yeah, thank you i and i hope you enjoy that that episode of the Smart Force podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website www dot smart Also, if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify, and you wouldn't mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in the journey through separation divorce, and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some foot further support, we do have a Facebook group now. It's called called separation divorce and dissolution UK. Please do go on to Facebook search of the group and we'd be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care


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