Family mediation is a process. Just as separation is a process. We are here to guide you through it.
1. Getting In Touch
You can contact us yourself or a solicitor can refer you to our service. We are happy to have an initial chat over the telephone and provide information so that you can decide if you would like to come and see us.
2. The MIAMS
(Mediation information and assessment appointment). During this stage you and the other party attend separately. The purpose of these appointments is so that we can explain the process to each of you and other dispute resolution options. We establish what your issues are and what is important to each of you and then we look at if mediation is suitable.
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 mediators can sign the necessary Court form to evidence that you have complied with the pre-Court assessment stage.
3. Joint Sessions
If your case is assessed as suitable and you and the other party or parties are willing to mediate then we set up a joint session. Family mediation usually involves you and the other party sitting down in the same room with our accredited mediator and working through issues. Sometimes mediation takes place on a "shuttle basis" and 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 sitting in the same room wouldn't be suitable.
A major focus of mediation however is conversation and as such wherever possible we try to facilitate mediation with both of you in the same room.
Mediation is a process and unlike civil and commercial mediations family mediation involves attending 2-3 joint sessions lasting 60-90 minutes each and typically 2-4 weeks apart.
Following each session you will receive a confidential record containing a summary of discussions which took place during that session. You can show that record to your solicitor/legal advisor. The record is however what is known in legal terms as "without prejudice" and you cannot disclose that record to a Court.
4. 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 prepare a parenting plan and in financial cases we prepare two documents, a Memorandum of Understanding which is the summary of the discussions and agreements reached and an Open Financial Statement containing a summary of your asset position and copies of the disclosure exchanged as part of the process.
In financial mediations your solicitors can file the necessary documentation based upon the mediation outcome with the Court in order to obtain a legally binding agreement. In divorce this is known as a consent order and in other cases may be a separation agreement, which may or may not be filed at Court.
In mediations concerning arrangements for your children, what happens going forward is what matters and agreed arrangements become the "status quo". It is now possible to file an application for a consent order with the Court under the Children Arrangements Programme and the Court will decide whether an order is necessary.
5. Our Fees
We offer mediation on a fixed fee basis so that costs are manageable and we offer a range of fixed fee options based upon your financial situation.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To make an appointment please contact 01274 861 096 (Liversedge) or 01423 637 272 (Harrogate).