What if my partner is not willing to attend family mediation?
Mediation cannot be imposed or enforced. It is a voluntary process. Your partner can be directed to attend a MIAM but cannot then be forced to mediate. If mediation is assessed as suitable and you both agree to take part it can be stopped by either party or the mediator, if considered helpful to do so. If I believe that one of you are unable to take part freely and fully in the process, then this will be raised as a concern.
I may suspend or end the mediation at any stage if doubts arise as to the ongoing suitability of mediation. In cases where mediation is not suitable, I will explain to you and your ex-partner the other options open to you both to sort out your disputes. I will complete and send out relevant forms that you will need to bring to your solicitors attention, showing that you have attended a MIAM to allow you to continue your case through the traditional route, with the advice and support of your solicitors.
I will also recommend other professional services that maybe helpful to you both.
How much will it cost?
There is a charge of £150.00 plus VAT each for the MIAM that will be carried out on a single basis.
Mediation sessions are usually booked for 90 minutes although we can offer half day and full day sessions where it is considered appropriate. The cost to each of you will be £262.50 plus VAT and there is a charge for preparing outcome letters based on the hourly rate of £350.00 plus VAT and preparing the final documents (open financial summary and memorandum of understanding) at the end of the case, which is usually no more than the cost of a meeting. The cost involved with mediation will be shared equally or as per your agreement.
This may seem expensive but the cost of family mediation is a lot cheaper than both of you paying solicitors to negotiate mutually acceptable terms. Charges are always fully discussed before mediation starts and you will be given an estimate of costs based on your circumstances.
How many sessions will we need?
A lot will depend on the number of issues that you need to resolve. If the issues are limited to say, discussing and agreeing the children’s arrangements then this can be sorted out in as little as one or two mediation sessions. If the issues are more complex, mediation could take longer to help you resolve matters.
What will we talk about during the family mediation?
The agenda is set by you and your partner. This is one of the major benefits of mediation. We can discuss any issues about your separation, divorce, children, finances and property. Sometimes issues about communication or incidents on the breakdown of the relationship are key issues that you may wish to discuss and agree upon before moving on to substantive issues on the children’s arrangements/property and finance. We can prioritise the issues according to your needs and requirements.
Mediation can also be used to resolve other types of family issues such as disputes between parents and children or between members of your extended family.
Is family mediation legally binding?
No. Any agreement reached through the help of the mediation service is not legally binding. If both parties agree, a without prejudice agreement can be prepared known as a memorandum of understanding (‘MOU’) based on the outcome of mediation. An application can be made to the Court to convert the MOU into a Court Order, which would then be legally binding. This would be undertaken by your solicitors.
Is family mediation aimed at trying to save the marriage like counselling?
No. Family mediation is not about saving marriages/relationships. It is about dealing with issues that arise out the breakdown in the least self-destructive way, allowing for ongoing communication between the separating couple. Mediation is alternative dispute resolution. It empowers the separating couple to make their own decisions about the various issues that may arise as a result of the marriage/relationship breakdown.
Do I need a solicitor to attend with me?
No. However there are different models of mediation and where both parties agree that their respective solicitors should be involved in the mediation process than this may be acceptable in more complex cases. Usually parties do not attend with their solicitors as this will increase their legal costs.