Your Questions Answered
What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is one way of helping you to make decisions about the future of your family following a separation. It is a voluntary and confidential process to help with making decisions following the breakdown of family life. It is an alternative to Court Proceedings and offers you the option to make your own decisions about your family.
How Does it Work and is it successful?
Family mediation does work to help settle arrangements. The Family Mediation Council has this year published figures reporting that whole or partial agreements have been reached in 70% of cases where couples have attended mediation. Highlighting that low levels of awareness meant that families were missing out on the opportunity to resolve conflict by mediation.
Mediation is available to anyone and you can contact the service yourself directly, by telephone or email. You may also be referred to a Mediation Service by a solicitor or other professional.
At the outset, you will attend a pre-mediation meeting, sometimes known as a MIAM (Mediation Initial Assessment Meeting), on your own to see if mediation is right for you. Your ex partner will also attend an initial meeting on their own. If you both decide mediation is right for you, and the mediator assesses that mediation is appropriate, a mediation meeting will be arranged to suit you. The meetings last approximately 90 minutes and you will be provided the opportunity to discuss the issues relevant to your family.
Can it Help Me?
Mediation can help you! It can help you to reach agreements about who your children will live with and how and when they will spend time with both parents. It can help with money issues and decisions about family property and how it is shared. It helps you keep control of the decisions about the future of your family.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
There are a number of benefits in comparison to Court Proceedings. It is significantly cheaper and can help you reach an agreement much quicker; it is less stressful for you, and less damaging for your children. You have control over the process and any agreement you reach. It is confidential and you will be given the opportunity to have your views heard. Family mediation offers you the chance to explore all options available in a fair and safe way with your ex-partner; so that decisions can be made that are right for you. It can help to reduce stress linked to separation and can allow you to figure out a way forward.
Are there any alternatives?
You can reach an agreement between yourselves without any formal intervention and many couples successfully make their own arrangements. The most widely used alternative to mediation is Court Proceedings. This can be costly and time consuming, being limited by Court time and not your own timescale. Decisions are taken away from you and made by the Court potentially adding to the stress experienced from the separation. The Courts attempt to make decisions about the future of family life, based upon consideration of the past, whilst mediation can help you make decisions based upon the present family arrangements and can assist you to discuss arrangements which will suit you and your family.
How can the Mediator Help?
The Mediator is there to guide and help you to explore the best way to reach decisions that work for you and your family. The Mediator can point you in the right direction to access other professional services which may help you. The mediator will act in a fair and balanced way to both participants.
All Mediators have passed an accredited Mediation Course and our Miss Dawson is currently working towards her accreditation as a mediator. Our Miss Dawson is a qualified solicitor with almost 20 years experience practicing in Family Law, she has been a member of the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation Scheme since 2006, this qualification evidences a level of competence in representing clients in Children Law proceedings. Consequently, she can provide up to date information on the law and legal process relating to your separation.
When considering the most appropriate orders to make, the UK legal system prioritise the best interests of any children of the family. mediators are trained to focus on the needs of the children and will encourage you to do the same.
How long will it take?
Mediation can take between 2 and 5 sessions to help you reach an agreement. Reducing the time it takes to resolve any dispute in which you are involved, allowing you to settle into your new life without having long drawn out proceedings timetabled by the Court.
How much will it cost?
Legal Aid is available for Mediation in limited circumstances. Family Mediation North Wales does not offer a legal aid service. However, a referral can be made to an alternative mediator colleague who is able to offer a quick and professional service. Where you are responsible for your own costs, the initial meeting you attend on your own is £100. The mediation meetings you attend with your ex-partner will cost £200 shared equally between you both.