What is Mediation ?

What is Mediation ?

Mediation is a process whereby you can reach agreement on arrangements following your divorce through a process of discussion. Using a trained mediator, you will be able to talk to your former partner and come to a written agreement on arrangements regarding childcare, finances and other arrangements.

Mediation is a confidential process. The process takes place behind closed doors, and not in a public forum such as a court. The discussions which take place during mediation are not revealed to third parties, and the mediator will not disclose those discussions.

Mediation is also an impartial process. The mediator does not make a decision as to which party is correct. This is very different to how a judge or magistrate reaches a decision. Simply expressed, a mediator helps you to make a decision.

With mediation you are in control of the whole process. You decide which decisions are made and if, and when, a decision is made when you come to reach an agreement. The language used in mediation is simple, and not designed to confuse, or make the process obscure.

Finally, mediation is a voluntary process. You are not compelled to attend mediation meetings and you decide at what times mediation meetings should be held. This can help you to fit your mediation meetings into your working life.

MIAMS / FM1

MIAMS / FM1

If your relationship has come to an end then you will need to attend MIAMS (Mediation Information and Assessment meetings). These meetings are designed to help you to sort out any outstanding issues around financial matters, or childcare procedures. In 2011 there was a change in the law to make attending MIAMS meeting much less bureaucratic, and meaning that it is virtually essential to attend these meetings. The government considered that this would be cheaper for families and also would be easier. The law changed again in 2014 which made MIAMS, in the majority of cases, a statutory obligation before you attend court. There are, however, exceptions to this rule which we can inform you about. We must stress that such exceptions are rare.

MIAMS meetings

The way that things stand at the moment, before you attend court you are required to attend a MIAMS meeting. It is possible, if MIAMS does not work in terms of a joint meeting, to hold single meetings with each partner. At the MIAMS a trained mediator will give you information as to what mediation involves and assess if your case is suitable one to go through mediation. The mediator will also then be able to conduct your mediation meetings.

The FM1

If there is to be no MIAMS meetings, then an FM1 form needs to be completed. This form will give a court the specific reason why mediation is not to go ahead.

Options

Options

You should note that mediation is usually the best option for both parties. However, mediation does not work in all cases. There are some alternatives to mediation which can be used and we can talk to you about viable alternatives. You should be aware, though, that in most cases you will first have to attend MIAMS meetings.

Collaborative law

Collaborative law is a process akin to mediation where both parties can sort out an agreement that is agreeable to each before the process reaches court. Collaborative law may be undertaken in conjunction with a solicitor, or with another legal, or family, professional.

Litigants in person (court)

Litigants in person is when you decide to defend a case by yourself. Rather than instruct a barrister, or a solicitor, you may decide to appear to represent your own interests. A note of caution is that without specialised legal expertise you may find this very difficult to do.

Self agreement

Self agreement is when you negotiate a settlement between yourselves without mediation. A trained mediator can help you to consider all aspects of the situation, and this can work better than self agreement.

Solicitors

If mediation is really not suitable then we can advise on legal options, including choice of solicitors.

Costs

Costs

Legal costs can be very excessive when it comes to negotiating a divorce, or a separation. You will normally not know in advance how much legal costs will come to in full. There are legal costs that will accrue as a case progresses, and what seems initially very reasonable can be very expensive when it comes to the end of the case. There is no ceiling to legal costs.

With mediation, however, costs are very manageable. These costs can be as low as £99 which will cover a basic mediation service. In addition, you will know exactly how much mediation will come to when you sign up for the service. Of course, we also offer more extensive mediation packages but we can guarantee that these costs will be exactly what we quote. This does not mean that our service is ‘on the cheap’, rather our mediators are fully trained, experienced, and have the empathy required to talk through all of the aspects of your divorce.

You will find that with mediation there is a lot more money which is left over for the essentials of life. This means that your divorce, or separation, will be a lot less onerous in terms of financial consequences for your children.