Family Mediation is a way of resolving relationship disagreements without involving the courts. The Family Mediation Database will provide details of a Mediator near to where you live or work and you should check that they are recognised by the Family Mediation Council. Community Legal Advice can also provide you with general advice, if your case may be suitable for Mediation and if you are eligible for any financial assistance.
The Mediator will contact your partner to find out if they are willing to try mediation and, if they are, you can then attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) either with your partner or alone, to establish whether or not Mediation is suitable for both of you. A Family Mediator is trained to help you reach an agreement without bias in a safe and neutral environment in which you and your family members explain your concerns and needs to each other. They will also:
• Check eligibility for free publicly-funded Mediation (formerly Legal Aid). If you are not eligible you will have to pay for each session; as a guideline, Legal Aid pays £87 plus VAT per person or £130 plus VAT where both partners are present
• Schedule further meetings at which you may work on communication issues, renew arrangements for children, exchange financial information and consider options
• Suggest other help, such as financial advice or support for your children
If you are applying for a Court Order about finances, money, property, possessions and arrangements for any children from the relationship however, the Court will require you to have attended an MIAM, with the following exceptions:
• Your Mediator submits form FM1 indicating that one of you was not willing to attend an MIAM
• Your Mediator has communicated that the case is not suitable for Mediation within the past four months
• either of you has made an allegation of domestic violence against the other within the past 12 months and police investigations or civil proceedings were started
• your dispute is about money and either of you is bankrupt
• you do not know the whereabouts of your partner
• you want to apply for a Court Order but for specific reasons do not intend to give your partner any notice
• the court application is urgent because somebody’s life or physical safety is at risk or a child is at risk of significant harm
• the Order is about a child who is already involved with social services because of concerns over their protection
• you have contacted three Mediators within 15 miles of your home and are unable to get an appointment with any of them within 15 working days
After you have both received legal advice and are happy with the proposals, your solicitors will convert the summary into a legally binding document and carry out any necessary implementation.
If you are considering or are ready to seek Family Mediation, contact our specialist Family Law team who can provide you with expert legal advice – 2 of them are jointly qualified and accredited lawyers/Family Mediators.