what is family mediation?
Family mediation is the process of sorting out differences with the assistance of a third person, known as the mediator. Your mediator is completely unbiased and acts as a neutral party when it comes to making decisions. Family mediation aims to sort out disputes and arguments in a bid to stop you from having to go to court.
When you go to mediation, you will have an initial meeting called an MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting). This initial assessment will examine your case and your relationship. If mediation is right for you, your mediator will let you know and will recommend that you continue to attend mediation sessions as opposed to attending court.
However, the mediator may say that mediation is not suitable for your case, and will advise that you should follow court proceedings. In this situation, the mediator will present you with a certificate, which you can show to a judge to explain that you have attempted mediation, but it hasn’t worked for you.
do i need family mediation?
Family mediation both is and is not a legal requirement, depending on what is involved in your divorce.
If your divorce involves children, property and specific finances, then you are legally required to go to mediation before you can apply for any of the following:
- Financial Orders
- Child Arrangements Order
- Specific Issue Order
- Prohibited Steps Order
- Parental Responsibility Order
- Appointing a child’s Guardian
You won’t need to go to family mediation if you’re applying for a consent order or if your divorce has ongoing emergency proceedings.
what should i do before mediation?
It’s important to come to family mediation well prepared and with a general plan of what you want to cover during the meeting.
Family mediation may be your last chance to resolve matters out of court and to get the outcome that you really want. You can take as much time you need to discuss your wishes with your mediator.
Your mediator may ask you to provide documents during your meeting, for example, they may ask you for any previously drafted agreements between you and your spouse or evidence of disputes.
how long does family mediation take and how much does it cost?
Mediation comes in appointments as and when you decide to book them in. An initial mediation appointment can take 45 minutes or so, where your mediator will discuss whether mediation is right for you.
If you decide to follow mediation, you can expect to have appointments that run between 1-2 hours long, depending on your situation. On average, it takes between 3-5 family mediation sessions to come to a full agreement. However, this is a general estimate and will depend on your personal situation. Mediation prices will differ depending on the mediator, however, 3 mediation sessions can typically cost in the region of £1,500.
Your MIAM, the assessment which looks at whether mediation is suitable for your case or not, can cost between £50 to £120 depending on location and mediation fees.
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