How it works
How family mediation works - in five steps.
The following outlines the usual path through mediation. However, clients may choose to use mediation in different ways eg a single session to see how it goes; a couple of sessions to narrow options to discuss with solicitors etc. We don't push you to complete your case but rather we work with you to get the most out of mediation, however many sessions you attend.
Step 1: You make an appointment to meet a mediator (either on your own, or together).
The first step is to contact us to make an appointment to see a mediator. This initial appointment is known as an assessment or MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting). If your solicitor has referred you we will contact you directly.
You are now required to 'consider' mediation before making an application to Court. By attending a MIAM you fulfil that requirement.
The MIAM appointment lasts about forty-five minutes and is a chance for you to talk to a mediator about your case and find out more about how mediation works.
The mediator will answer any questions you have about how mediation works and the alternatives to mediation.
If you attend a MIAM on your own, WE will contact your ex-partner to see whether they would like to come in for a similar meeting, on their own, where possible with the same mediator you saw.
Need an appointment in a hurry? We can usually offer a first appointment at one of our offices within forty-eight hours if you are prepared to travel to one of our offices. Ring us to see what is available.
Clients often ask whether they can skip the MIAM appointment and go straight into mediation. We are unable to do this as it is an essential part of a Family Mediator's Code of Practice to see clients for a MIAM before starting mediation.
Step 2: You both make your decision about mediation
Following the MIAM, if the mediator thinks the case is suitable and if you would both like to go ahead with mediation, arrangements will be made regarding payment (if you have fees to pay) and your first mediation session will be set up.
If you don’t wish to go ahead, or if your ex-partner doesn’t want to come to an assessment, we can sign your form if you need to go to Court.
Step 3: Mediation takes place.
You and your ex-partner will be together in the same room with your mediator, working through the issues to be discussed. Mediation sessions usually follow an agenda but are relatively informal – we use first names all the way through mediation.
How long are the sessions?
Each session usually lasts an hour and a half face to face (though we book out two hours of the mediator's time).
In some cases we can offer one hour sessions.
How many sessions? Will it take weeks or months?
A children issues case usually takes around two sessions and cases involving financial matters take around three or four sessions.
For financial information you will need to do some ‘homework’ collecting documents – all this will be explained by the mediator. You may be advised to take legal or financial advice to help your discussions in mediation and to help you come to mutually agreed decisions.
On average a mediation case involving financial decisions lasts about two-three months. Cases involving only children matters can be dealt with a lot quicker.
Step 4 (in some cases) - interim paperwork
Do I need a solicitor?
In finance and property mediation you are strongly advised to take legal advice during your mediation (or before if you wish to).
At an appropriate point we can provide you with a draft of your finances and an overview of 'where you are at' with your discussions to take to your solicitor. It can be very helplful to discuss how mediation is progressing and what you are proposing in mediation.
Please note there is a charge for drawing up interim paperwork of £100 + VAT per client.
Following this you may wish to complete your mediation and reach final proposals.
Step 5: End of mediation paperwork
You have now completed the ‘face to face’ part of mediation. The next stage involves the mediator drawing up a record of the proposals you reached, if required. These documents are usually sent out within two weeks of the completion of your mediation. The documents can be used as the basis of a legal agreement between you and your ex-partner.
Following your mediation we will write to ask you for feedback about your experience in mediation. This can be completed online. We use the information gathered to help us improve our service.
The above timescales are averages. Some cases take longer and some can be completed a lot quicker.