What is Family Mediation?

15th January 2021 10:00 am Comments Off on What is Family Mediation?

If you and your former partner are thinking of separating and/or getting a divorce, it is likely that you will need to make arrangements and agreements for the future. Family mediation can assist with this by ensuring that any issues that arise on separation are resolved in an amicable and constructive manner, avoiding the need for costly and lengthy court proceedings.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is where an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you and your former partner to reach an agreement about issues such as:

  • Parenting arrangements for children;
  • Payment of child maintenance; and
  • Your property and financial affairs.

You may also be feeling worried about whether your children will be able to keep in touch with their grandparents, or other family members, following separation and family mediation can be used to help with this too.

What happens at family mediation?

An accredited and impartial mediator meets with both former partners together. This can either be in the same room, or separately, if this is preferred.

During the meeting, both parties discuss matters which they feel are important to them. The mediator will assist with these discussions by driving the dialogue in a positive direction.

Is family mediation still taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Yes, all family mediation sessions are currently taking place remotely via video communication platforms such as “Zoom”. This means that there does not have to be any delay in reaching important agreements about your future.

How can I apply for family mediation?

We can recommend a mediator to you or you can search for a local mediator using the “Find your local mediator” tab on the Family Mediation Council website. You can then contact the mediator on the telephone number or email address provided to you.

What is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting?

An initial meeting, known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (“MIAM”), will be arranged so that you can discuss with the mediator whether your situation is suitable for family mediation.

Participation in family mediation is voluntary, but if you need to apply to the Court for help dealing with issues relating to financial settlement on divorce or your children, attendance at a MIAM is compulsory, in most circumstances.

How much does family mediation cost?

A MIAM usually costs around £80. If you participate in further family mediation sessions after this then it will cost more and you can ask the mediator about the likely cost of this when you contact them.

If I make a proposal in family mediation, can this be used against me in Court?

No, any discussions during family mediation sessions are confidential to the process and cannot be referred to in any Court proceedings, which may occur later on.

We suggest that, in order for you to make best use of mediation and be fully informed as to your legal position, you take advice from a solicitor before and/or after each session.

It is perfectly acceptable during mediation to say that you will consider any proposals put forward by the other party, but that you would like to take independent legal advice on the proposal before making a decision whether or not to accept it.

Is the outcome of family mediation legally binding?

If you and your former partner reach agreements during family mediation, it is important to understand that, whilst all agreements will be confirmed in a document called a Memorandum of Understanding, that document itself is not legally binding. You will need to speak to a specialist family solicitor about having the terms of your agreement drafted in the form of a legally binding document approved by the Court, known as a Consent Order. To find out more about Consent Orders click here.

If you would like to speak with us about having the terms of your agreement drafted into a Consent Order, or if you wish to consider mediation with the benefit of legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist family solicitors by calling 01628 631051 or by emailing family@colemans.co.uk.

Categorised in: Family Law

This post was written by Colemans Solicitors LLP

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