We offer Legal Aid
Family Mediation allows you to reach your own decisions about contact arrangements rather than having a court decide for you. This means mediation agreements tend to work better and last longer.
In Family Mediation you sort out family arrangements over a number of joint meetings. The focus is on providing a safe and fair environment with the aim of moving forward and reaching agreement and not on deciding whose fault it is. The mediator will help you to negotiate an agreement that takes account of the whole family’s needs.
Mediation can promote better quality communication between you and your ex-partner. It also helps to establish a sound foundation for continued good parenting. Mediation can be about children, property and finance or both.
As a part of the mediation process, it is sometimes possible to bring the children in to meet the mediator and have a confidential discussion with them. The mediator will only feed back to parents the points the child gives permission to feed back. This helps to create a safe place for children to offload how they feel about the current situation, any concerns they have and they can ask questions. Experience tells us that children find this process very helpful and they appreciate being asked what their feelings are as it says they matter. The feedback to the parents is usually helpful in guiding decisions which will then meet all the family’s needs. It helps parents to stay focussed on what their children need.
Kids in the Middle:
The Parenting Plan:
Client 1 - MIAM
1st Joint Meeting
2nd Joint Meeting
3rd Joint Meeting/As many needed
Client 2 - MIAM
Interim Mediation Summary
Interim Mediation Summary
Interim Mediation Summary
P&F/AIM Case -
MOU & OFS
STAGES OF MEDIATION
A Child Arrangements Mediation usually takes about 1-2 sessions of 1.5 hours each (excluding the MIAM). A Mediator will ensure you receive an Outcome Statement which summarises the discussions you had in mediation, the key points of the negotiation and any agreements you have made as a result.
A Finance and Property Mediation usually takes 3-4 sessions of 1.5 hours each (excluding the MIAM). A Mediator will ensure you receive all copies of all of the relevant financial documentation, a schedule of assets and liabilities, a schedule of income and expenditure (as above) and a Memorandum of Understanding which details your personal information, brief case outline, finalised schedules, key points of negotiation and any agreements made.
An All Issues Mediation (includes Finance, Property and Children) usually takes up to 5 sessions (excluding the MIAM). A Mediator will ensure you receive all copies of all of the relevant financial documentation, a schedule of assets and liabilities, a schedule of income and expenditure (as above) and a Memorandum of Understanding which details your personal information, brief case outline, finalised schedules, key points of negotiation on all of the issues (children, finance and property) and any agreements made.
Initial contact, this can be either via telephone or via our mailing system found in the 'contact' tab on our website.
Once you have spoken with us, you will be invited to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This will enable you to discuss your case with a family mediator, find out more about mediation and other options available to you. The mediator will ask if you would like the other person in the dispute to be contacted. If so, we will contact the other person and invite them along to a MIAM. Sometimes couples decide to attend a MIAM together.
Once you and your ex-partner have both attended a MIAM (whether together or separately) and both of you and the mediator agree it is safe to progress with mediation, a first mediation session will be booked. This is often called a planning meeting.
At the first mediation session, an agreement to mediate including a confidentiality agreement will be signed. The principles of mediation will be reiterated and ground rules established. An agenda for negotiation will be produced by you and your ex-partner. The mediator will establish what each of you would like to accomplish and establish any common ground between you. Depending on whether your starting point is financial or about the children, the structure of the mediation might differ.
If the mediation is an 'all issues mediation' or a 'finance and property mediation', the second meeting is usually dedicated to financial disclosure. This means that you will be asked to bring financial information to the session, for example, about all your assets and liabilities, which will help you both to figure out what is in the pot and what requires dividing.
Because it is not always possible to get all the financial information required by the second session, financial disclosure may take an additional session before developing options and negotiation can commence. You will be asked to make two copies of all of the documentation you bring in – the originals for yourself, one set of copies for the other party and one set for the mediator.
If your mediation is solely to do with arrangements for the children e.g. where they will live, who they will see and when, child maintenance payments etc. this will be discussed, options developed and arrangements negotiated. If children are involved, the solution will always be to do what is best for the children and it may be that you will ask the mediator to consult with your child or children.
After every session, a mediator will draft documentation which includes all of the key points discusses during the mediation, as well as any agreements made on arrangements following discussions. You will receive this before the next mediation session. In a financial mediation, this will include a schedule of all of your assets and liabilities and income and expenditure which will provide you with an informed position from which to negotiate an outcome.
During the mediation, it might be appropriate to access advice alongside the process. This can be in the form of legal, financial or other advice (debt, welfare benefits etc.) and a mediator will discuss when this might be appropriate.
Remember that mediation is a voluntary process, to suspend or discontinue mediation for an appropriate reason can be an option. This can be discussed with the mediator.
Agreements in mediation are not legally binding, however, research does show that agreements made in mediation usually last longer and have better outcomes for all involved.
You will be able to take your Open Financial Statement (OFS) or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to a lawyer to have it drafted into a consent order which will make it legally binding in a court of law. Alternatively you may be able to send the MOU/OFS directly to your local Family Court in order for a Judge to make a final decision on the outcome of your case.
Legal Aid - Free mediation for those eligible
MIAMs - Lasts for 45 minutes (£85 per person)
All Issues/Property & Finance/ Child Only Mediation - Each session lasts between 1-2 hours (£100 per person/per hour, inclusive of an Interim Mediation Summary)
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Charged at 1 hours work (£100 - split between both clients, ie; £50 each)
Open Financial Statement (OFS) - Charged at 1 hours work (£100 - split between both clients, ie; £50 each)