Family Mediation

What is family mediation?

Mediation is a way for couples who have decided to separate to come into a neutral environment in which they can explore the options open to them to be able to reach their own fully-informed decisions about future family arrangements. Mediation can assist with making arrangements relating to children and/or financial issues. It is a process which is both voluntary and confidential.

 

Advantages of mediation

  • Mediation provides the opportunity to work out arrangements relating to your children and/or finances which are balanced and mutually acceptable to you both;
  • It is a less costly way of achieving settlement than becoming involved in expensive Court proceedings or lengthy written negotiations;
  • Mediation is a flexible and all-encompassing approach to finding solutions which are reached at your own pace;
  • It helps children to see that their parents are working together to sort things out for the future;
  • Research shows that family arrangements resolved by mediation are cheaper, quicker and less acrimonious than those settled through the Courts.

 

How does mediation work?

  • The mediator will discuss with each of you individually whether you are willing to try mediation to resolve future arrangements between you. This is so that you can each ask any questions about the process before you decide to start mediation together and to decide whether it is a suitable process for you both;
  • Once it is clear that you are both willing to try mediation, we will arrange an initial meeting with you both where you can explain to the mediator what you need to work towards resolving together and an agenda for working through the issues in priority order according to which are most important to you both can be established;
  • The mediator will ask you to obtain specific relevant information to help work towards a solution that is best for your individual circumstances and set a date for a follow-up meeting;
  • There will usually be a number of meetings lasting about one and an half hours each;
  • On average, 3 to 5 sessions may be needed, but there can be more or less depending on your personal circumstances and wishes;
  • You can arrange a mediation appointment either before or after seeing your own solicitors (it is often helpful to have had some legal advice first);
  • The mediator cannot advise either of you, but is there to enable you both to feel free to discuss and work towards resolving future arrangements in a neutral setting, providing you with information you may need to achieve a resolution and this can include the involvement of a family consultant or financial adviser as part of the mediation process if you both wish;
  • Mediation provides a place where you can each acknowledge the other’s point of view and ultimately make mutually acceptable choices about your family’s future arrangements;
  • Throughout the process you can both speak to your individual solicitors if you wish to seek advice about particular issues which arise at any time.

 

MIAMS (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings)

  • We are able to provide a MIAM if you require this service.
  • A MIAM is required in most cases if you are contemplating an application to the Court as the Court will want to know that you have considered mediation as an option before making your application (there are some exemptions from the requirement to attend a MIAM).
  • The Family Mediation Council website provides helpful information in relation to MIAMS and whether this is required in your situation.

 

What happens at the conclusion of mediation?

  • Mediation comes to an end either (a) once you resolve your issues; (b) if either of you decides that you do not wish to continue with the process at any time; or (c) if it becomes clear that mediation is not working in your situation;
  • If you are able to resolve matters, the mediator will provide you with written confirmation of your proposals (a Memorandum of Understanding) which you can then consider with your own solicitors who will deal with the formalities of finalising this with the Court for you if that is required;
  • If you cannot resolve matters, the time in mediation will not have been wasted as the mediator can give you an open financial statement which sets out the financial information you have both disclosed during mediation which will save the time which may otherwise be needed to take to provide this information to your solicitors.

 

How much does it cost?

Please feel free to contact us for a no obligation discussion about the process of mediation and likely costs. Costs can be shared between you or one of you may agree to pay the overall costs for you both. You will always be given an estimate of the costs before the first mediation session takes place. We are not able to offer legally aided mediation.

 

The mediator

  • Our mediator is Sarah-Jane Riddell who is an experienced family lawyer and also trained by Resolution as a family mediator and collaborative lawyer. Sarah is accredited by the Law Society as a family mediator and registered with the Family Mediation Council;
  • Resolution is a professional organisation which ensures that quality standards are maintained in all areas of family law on an ongoing basis.
  • Sarah is also a member of Lawyers Who Mediate which is a group of experienced local mediators who work together to promote family mediation as an alternative and less stressful way of reaching solutions for families.

 

If you are interested in learning more about our mediation services, please feel free to contact Sarah as follows:

telephone phone-grey 01273 205 805

email   envelope-grey  sarah@brightonandhovelaw.co.uk

or if you prefer arrange a callback