Family Mediation

What is family mediation?

Mediation provides a neutral environment to enable participants to reach their own fully informed decisions about family arrangements rather than have a decision imposed upon them by the Court.  It is a voluntary and confidential process.

 

**NB whilst the social distancing requirements owing to COVID-19

remain in place we are still able to offer mediation services

– all meetings will be by video link until further notice **

 

Advantages of mediation

  • the opportunity to make decisions about child arrangements and/or about finances which are balanced and mutually acceptable to you both and above all prioritise the children throughout.
  • a less costly way of achieving settlement than engaging in expensive Court proceedings or lengthy written negotiations as issues can be dealt with in a practical way during meetings.
  • a flexible and all-encompassing approach to finding solutions reached at your own pace.
  • helps children to see their parents working together to sort things out for the future.
  • It is possible to build in the support of other professional services including neutral financial advisers or family consultants as required.

 

How does mediation work?

  • Firstly, the mediator will discuss with each of you individually whether you are willing to try mediation to resolve future arrangements between you so that you can each feel free to ask any questions about the process before you start mediation.
  • We can provide a MIAM (i.e. where you have been asked by the Court/your solicitor to attend a MIAM prior to issuing Court proceedings).
  • If you are both willing to come to mediation after separate initial meetings, we will arrange a joint meeting. An agenda will be worked out together at the start of each meeting to focus our discussions on your priorities.
  • 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.
  • Meetings last about 1.5 hours (3 to 5 sessions may be needed, but there can be more or less depending on your personal circumstances and wishes).
  • A mediation appointment can be arranged before or after seeing your own solicitors (it is helpful to have had some legal advice first). Throughout the process, you can both speak to your individual solicitors if you need advice about particular issues which arise at any time.
  • The mediator cannot advise either of you but is there to enable you both to work towards resolving future arrangements between you in a neutral environment, providing legal information where required. Mediation provides you both with a place where you can acknowledge each other’s viewpoint to make mutually acceptable choices about your future arrangements.
  • We can provide ‘hybrid mediation’ where your solicitors can be actively involved in preparatory steps for meetings and attend meetings with you if you wish. For more information about this, please contact us.

 

What happens at the conclusion of mediation?

  • Mediation ends (a) once you resolve your issues; (b) if either of you decides that you do not wish to continue with the process; or (c) if it is clear that mediation is not working in your situation.
  • If matters are resolved, the mediator will provide you with written confirmation of your proposals (called a Memorandum of Understanding) which can form the basis for a formal agreement prepared by 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 provide an Open Financial Summary which sets out the financial information disclosed during mediation which will save the time which you need to take to provide this information to your solicitors. If alternative/additional family law options are required, the mediator will be able to assist in giving full information about accessing these.

 

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 legal aid mediation at this time.

 

The mediator

Our mediator is Sarah-Jane Riddell who is an experienced family lawyer who is trained by Resolution as a family mediator and collaborative lawyer and accredited by the Law Society and a member of 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 Sussex Family Solutions which brings together experienced professionals who promote non-adversarial family law processes.

 

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