FAQ

How can family mediation help you?

Mediation helps couples to work out agreed arrangements, both in the short and longer term. The delays and costs of court proceedings can be avoided. Agreements benefit any children involved and greatly reduce the stress on the family as a whole.

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What does MIAM stand for?

MIAM stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. Since 22nd April 2014, before making an application to the Court in family matters involving both children and finance, you must have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) unless certain specific and limited exemptions apply.

If you go to mediation, does the mediator try to persuade you to stay together or to get back together again, if you have already split up?

No. The aim of mediation is not to try to stop couples splitting up. It is to help both partners work out decisions and arrangements for the future that they can both accept and it leads to a more amicable separation or divorce.

How does mediation help to sort out money and property?

Mediators help both parties to gain a clear understanding of their financial position, by gathering and sharing all the details and necessary documents; then help them to consider all the available options and to work out the possible terms of a financial settlement based on circumstances and needs which is workable and acceptable.

Although mediators do not give legal advice, they can provide information about the legal process of divorce and the general principles the court follows in making orders in divorce.

How much does mediation cost?

Mediation helps to reduce legal costs. It should cost considerably less than to pay two solicitors - one on each side - to gather the information and engage in correspondence, especially if followed by court proceedings.

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How does mediation work in practice?

MIAMís may be individual or joint appointments, as preferred. Nobody is forced to take part and great care is taken to ensure that neither party feels under pressure or at risk from the other. Joint mediation meetings are then arranged.

Is mediation confidential?

Yes, the discussions that take place in mediation are completely confidential. The mediator does not give information to any third party without both partiesí written consent apart from in limited situations which you will be told about such as a child being thought to be at risk of serious harm. The discussions that take place in mediation are legally privileged, meaning that neither party can tell the court what was said in mediation unless both parties agree to do so. The financial information provided by both parties can, however, be made available to the court to support a consent order.

How long does mediation usually take?

Anything between two and five meetings. It depends on the issues to be resolved and will be discussed fully at the assessment.

Who are the mediators? Are they trained?

The mediators at this service are legally trained and have nationally recognised training as family mediators. They have years of legal and mediation experience.

Are those who go to family mediation satisfied with the results they get?

Research shows that 80% of the couples who have been to mediation, at any stage of separation or divorce, reached some agreement. Mediation made communication easier and the separation or divorce was less bitter and stressful. Most felt it had helped them to co-operate as parents over their children. Even when there was a high level of conflict and individuals had felt doubtful about taking part, most said it enabled them to talk and be heard in a way that would not otherwise have been possible.

What happens after mediation? If people go back to solicitors after making good progress in mediation, is there a risk that the solicitors will take their proposed agreement apart, so that both parties end up in court after all?

Mediators help people to make the best possible use of their legal advisors, so that following mediation a legally binding agreement can be drawn up at minimum cost. Both parties are encouraged to check the proposed agreements with their own legal advisors, so that neither of them enters into a legally binding agreement without understanding its implications and without having obtained legal advice on its terms. Research findings show that most solicitors support mediation and do not set out to undermine the progress made in mediation. Solicitors are likely to advise their clients to accept mediated agreements, if the necessary information has been gathered and considered in mediation and the options have been explored fully.

What if the other party will not attend a MIAM?

The other party is expected to have attended a MIAM when invited and the Court has the power to tell the person that they must do so and the case will be adjourned for this to take place and to consider whether mediation will be of help.

What if exemption from attending a MIAM is not validly claimed?

At the first hearing this will be considered and if it is not validly claimed the case will be adjourned so a MIAM can take place.