Family mediation helps those involved in divorce or separation to communicate better with one another and reach their own decisions about all or some of the issues arising from separation, divorce or ending of a civil partnership, including children, property and financial issues. Mediation allows you to directly negotiate your own decisions with the help of a qualified family mediator. It is an alternative to lawyers negotiating for you or having decisions made for you by the Courts. Participation in mediation is voluntary although it is now a requirement that before any application is made to a Court concerning finances or children following the breakdown of a marriage, civil partnership or relationship, the person making the application must attend a mediation information session’ or ‘assessment meeting’ in order to find out about the option of resolving matters through mediation.
Our resident family mediator, Abby Smith, is an accredited member of Resolution and provides mediation for private and publicly funded clients. This means that we are able to offer mediation to separating couples who are wanting to avoid the Court process altogether and those couples who may be contemplating Court proceedings to resolve their dispute. Even then, we highly recommend individuals approach mediation with an open mind as the process can be less stressful and costly compared to your matter being dealt with by a Court. The National Audit Office statistics show the average time for a mediated case to conclude is 110 days and costs £535 per person compared with 435 days and £2,823 for cases heard by Courts.
How does family mediation work?
Our mediator will meet with you both for a series of sessions in which you will be helped to:
- Identify all the matters you wish to consider.
- Collect the necessary information – mediation requires you and your spouse/partner to be open and honest about your financial circumstances in order to achieve an outcome which is fair to you both.
- Talk about the choices open to you.
- Negotiate with each other to reach decisions that are acceptable to you both.
- Discuss how you can discuss with your children appropriately about the arrangements.
What does a family mediator do?
Our job is to act as an impartial third party and manage the process, helping you to exchange information, ideas and feelings constructively and ensuring you make informed decisions. A family mediator has no power to impose a settlement – responsibility for all decisions remains with yourselves since you know better then anyone else what is right for your family. A family mediator will not advise either of you about the best option, either for your children or your financial affairs, nor can the mediator provide you with independent advice. Our family mediator can provide legal information and guidance, just not individual advice, as a family mediator must remain independent at all times.
Will I need a Solicitor?
Yes! You will need a solicitor to advise you independently, on the consequences for you, or your proposals. You will be encouraged to engage a solicitor whom you can consult during the process. At the end of family mediation, your solicitor will be able to advise you about your proposals and translate them into a legally binding document.
Will we have anything in writing?
At the end of family mediation you will receive a written summary of the proposals you have reached. This is not a legally binding document and you will need legal advice about it, especially if you have reached an agreement on financial and property issues.
How much will it cost?
We offer a fixed fee service as follows:
- £50 to undertake the willingness test and complete Court forms (only required if Court proceedings are contemplated).
- £50 for each individual consultation to assess whether your situation is suitable for family mediation.
- £300 per mediation session.
- £300 to prepare financial schedules.
- £300 to prepare the final documents.
All the above fees exclude VAT at the current rate applicable save the willingness test and individual consultation which are inclusive of VAT. If you are on a low income, you may qualify for legal aid meaning our fees will be met by the Legal Services Commission. We will assess your eligibility at the start of the mediation process.
Is mediation suitable for everyone?
Sometimes mediation is not the best way for you to resolve your problems. You will have a chance to discuss this in more detail at your individual consultation with our family mediator.
For further information about family mediation, contact Abby Smith by telephone on 01480 454301 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org