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Family Mediation is a process, just as separation is a process. We are here to guide you through it.

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What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is the first step to take to resolve issues following separation. Mediation as a process facilitates conversations taking place to help everyone involved move towards building a new future.

Family Mediation Video

The Family Mediation video explains in simple terms exactly how the process works and how agreements and arrangements are reached without the need for court intervention.

“A thoroughly professional and efficient, yet personal, service was provided throughout”

The Process

The process involves our impartial and accredited mediator helping you work out arrangements for your children and financial issues. Mediation may also assist if you are looking at a potential change in arrangements for your children and/or financial circumstances.

Family Mediation as a process is voluntary and you stay in control of making decisions. This is very different to if you are in Court. Any solution must be one that works for all parties.

The Family Mediation process

Stage one is an individual meeting with our accredited family mediator. This is known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Appointment – or MIAMS.

This appointment is confidential and gives you the opportunity to provide background to your situation, discuss concerns, hopes and options. The mediator will provide information about different processes available to you to help resolve the issues as well as explaining the family mediation process to you. The MIAMS stage helps you to establish rapport with the mediator and it an important stage of the process.

What is MIAMS?

The MIAMS appointment is the only compulsory part of the family mediation process. By law you cannot (save in exceptional circumstances) issue an application to Court for any private children legal issue or an application to Court for financial remedy unless you have attended a MIAMS appointment. If having attended the MIAMS appointment you decide you do not want to carry on with the mediation process, or if our mediator considers that mediation is unsuitable, then our accredited mediator can sign the necessary Court form to evidence that you have complied with the pre-Court assessment stage.

Progressing to joint sessions

Sometimes mediation takes place on a “shuttle basis” – this means that you and the other party are in different rooms. This sometimes happens where there is high conflict or there are other reasons which mean that both of you sitting in the same room wouldn’t be suitable.

The process

Family Mediation is a process just as separation is and typically involves attending 2-3 joint sessions which last between 60-90 minutes each, usually 2-4 weeks apart. The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussions, help you to generate, explore and test out options in a safe space and move towards an agreed understanding.

After each session you will receive a confidential record containing a summary of discussions which took place and a list of next steps. You can show this record to your solicitor/legal advisor should you wish. The record is, however, what is known in legal terms as “without prejudice” and you cannot disclose that record to a Court.

Reaching agreements and making it legal

When we reach a consensus as to the important issues in your case we prepare the documentation you can then use to legalise your agreement.

In children cases we will prepare a parenting plan, and in financial cases we prepare two documents. The first is a Confidential Mediation Summary, which is the summary of the discussions and agreements reached, and the second is an Open Financial Statement containing a summary of your asset position and copies of the disclosure exchanged as part of the process.

Orders and Agreements

In financial mediation cases, your solicitors can file the necessary documentation based upon the mediation outcome with the Court in order to obtain a legally binding agreement, or if you do not have any legal representative you can apply yourself to do this. In divorce this is known as a consent order and in other cases may be a separation agreement.

Child Arrangements

The law has a “no-order principle”. This means that unless there is a need for an Order a Court will not make one. This is on the basis that as parents you know your children the best and arrangements for children may change over time. Arrangements for children are much more than a piece of paper which is ultimately what a Court order is.

Mediation is more than about arrangements it is about communication, co-parenting and other issues important to your children.

We prepare a parenting plan or a summary of proposals. Sometimes, however, if you are in proceedings and /or if you are looking to vary an existing order it may be appropriate to apply for the principles you have reached to be made legally binding. It is possible to do this.

Always fixed fees

We provide fixed free rates for all our mediation work. For further information please see our fixed schedule attached. There are no hidden charges or costs.