Frequently asked questions

 What is family law mediation?

Family law mediation involves the parties to a dispute, usually a husband and wife or civil partners, coming before a mediator to try to resolve their dispute. Common disputes relate to disagreement over the care of children, living arrangements or financial matters following the breakdown of the relationship.

A mediator is an independent third party who tries to encourage the parties to communicate openly to resolve their dispute.

Is family law mediation voluntary?

In the UK, family law mediation is a voluntary process. As mediation is voluntary, it relies on the cooperation of both parties for it to be successful. However, since April 2011, if couples wish to divorce (or dissolve a civil partnership) they must first prove to the court that they have considered mediation. This involves attending an initial assessment meeting with a mediator.

What are the benefits of mediation?

The benefits of mediation are recognised by government, solicitors and in particular the separating or divorcing couples and parents who use mediation services. The principal benefits of mediation are that it is:

 

  • time-saving in comparison with other ways of resolving disputes

  • less costly than alternatives

  • less stressful than going to court

  • a way of enabling the parties to keep in control of the situation

  • flexible

  • non adversarial - mediation isn't about letting relationships deteriorate further

  • in the best interests of the family

  • focused on achieving a fair outcome

What happens in mediation?

The mediator will meet you together at an assessment meeting, prior to mediation taking place. The assessment meeting gives you an opportunity to find out more about mediation and also for the mediator to look at your case.

Once you are both happy to go ahead with mediation you will have regular meetings with the mediator until proposals are reached. This usually takes about three to five meetings of an hour each.

The mediator will then draw up a record of your proposals in an agreed format. If the mediation looks at finance and property the mediator will also draw up a full summary of your financial position. If required, these documents can be taken to your solicitor for use in your divorce.

 

How long does mediation take?

In comparison with going to court or instructing opposing sets of solicitors, mediation is a quick  and inexpensive process. Most cases can be dealt with in about three to five meetings in total. The frequency and number of meetings depends on the complexity of the issues being discussed and your own timescales. At the assessment meeting the mediator will be able to give you a clearer idea about how many sessions you may need and the cost.

 

How much does it cost?

Each face to face meeting costs £190 per session. You are likely to need between 3 - 5 sessions to resolve your issues i.e. approximately £600 - £1,000 in total. This may vary depending on your willingness to achieve a settlement.

Telephone or Skype meetings are lower at only £150 per session.  See details of Cost.

Does it have to be face to face?

Normally we like the parties to attend an initial face to face meeting with the mediator. However, we understand that for various reasons, this may not be possible for everyone. So we can arrange a 3-way telephone or Skype meeting instead. You will not need to attend at one of our offices. If you choose this option, lower fees apply.

Do I need a solicitor? How does family mediation fit into divorce?

You do not need to see a solicitor before meeting the mediator; it is entirely optional. Your mediator may encourage you to consult a solicitor if it is felt appropriate. A mediator can give you legal information but not advice. Some couples use both the services of a mediator and a solicitor in going through a divorce. It is entirely up to you and depends on your budget.

Is family law mediation binding?

Family law mediation is not legally binding. It is 'without prejudice' meaning unless both sides agree, it cannot be brought up again later in court. The mediator cannot give the parties legal advice, nor can the mediator tell the parties what solution they should accept. Both parties can obtain independent legal advice from a family law solicitor throughout the process.

Can an agreement be entered into in family law mediation?

Yes. Although mediation is not legally binding, the process can be used to draw up a binding agreement. If an agreement is reached, the parties can write down the fundamental points of their agreement. Our mediator is a former family law solicitor and will be able to draw up the formal agreement reached. You can then present this to your own solicitor and the court will make the agreement legally binding.

What if family law mediation is unsuccessful?

If family mediation is unsuccessful the parties can proceed through the normal court system. We will provide you with the completed FM 1 Form at no extra cost.

Another option is for each party to instruct family law solicitors who are experienced in ‘collaborative law’. Through the collaborative law process, both parties and their solicitors meet regularly with the aim of reaching an agreement at the end of the process. Both mediation and collaborative law can save both parties great expense.

 Who is the Mediator I will meet?

The Mediator is a former family law solicitor and expert in this field. He has wide experience in practice. He will be able to answer any questions you may have over the phone initially, by email or in the first meeting.

 

How can I make an appointment?

We would be pleased to hear from you directly on:

 01923 869036 or  0784 320 1025 

email  familymediator1@gmail.com

or click here to submit a form