STEP ONE – CONSIDERING MEDIATION AND ARRANGING A MEDIATION INFORMATION AND ASSESSMENT MEETING (known as a MIAM)
Have a look at our website and if you are interested in engaging in mediation, then get in touch via our contact page.
We will then contact you about making arrangements to book an initial appointment to meet a mediator known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting or MIAM (please read the details here about MIAMs-when you arrange your MIAM with us, we take it as your agreement to these terms) and arrange payment in advance for this appointment.
You are now legally required to “consider” mediation before you can start a Court application in most cases. By attending a MIAM, you will fulfil that requirement and we will provide you with a Court Form certifying that you have done this and complied with this requirement even if you do not wish to mediate.
At this MIAM appointment, the mediator will explain all about mediation (what it is and what it isn’t) and discuss with you the background to your situation so that you can mutually assess if mediation may be appropriate and as well the options and alternatives open to you.
The mediator can check whether you may be eligible for legal aid and if so explain to you how you can progress that. If you think that you may be eligible for legal aid, then you can check this yourself at www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid
You will have a chance to ask any questions you may have about mediation, how it works, what’s involved and for us to give you detailed information about the costs you may incur in mediation.
If mediation is suitable and if you are willing, we will contact your ex-partner to see whether they would be willing to consider mediation and attend a similar meeting on their own.
STEP TWO – YOU BOTH DECIDE ABOUT MEDIATION
Mediation is a voluntary process so you both have to be willing to give it a try. Mediation is an opprtunity and is not compulsory. If you are both willing (and the mediator thinks it is suitable), then we will make arrangements for the first mediation session at a mutually convenient time and date. We will discuss with you whether online or direct mediation is appropriate. We will fully explain and agree about the costs before the start of mediation. We will ask you both to pay in advance.
If either or both of you are not willing to mediate (or if the mediator thinks it would not be suitable) then we will provide you with a Court Form certificate confirming that you have considered mediation as legally required. This Court Form will enable you to start Court proceedings within the following 4 months.
STEP THREE – MEDIATION TAKES PLACE
We will support and assist both parties in structured discussion and clarification of issues, usually following an agreed agenda. This may take place online or in person. If some of these issues include financial matters, then you will be asked to agree to produce relevant documentation as part of the mediation process. The mediator will explain what information and documents you will need to collect and share in mediation (in effect, your “homework”) including assisting you both in agreeing how this can best be shared and the timescale for doing so. The mediator will be able to give you legal and financial information but cannot give either of you advice. It may be suggested that you should take legal or financial advice to help your discussions and to help you to reach mutually acceptable proposals. It may be appropriate if both parties agree for the mediator to prepare interim paperwork to assist you in getting advice. We can explain this process and the likely costs to both parties before any such additional work is undertaken. Following obtaining such advice, you may wish to return to complete your mediation and reach final proposals.
Sessions usually last for an hour and a half although longer sessions can be arranged.
All cases are different and as individual as the people involved but in cases concerning children there can be on average 1 to 3 sessions, cases concerning property and finance only there can be an average of 2 to 4 sessions and cases involving all issues (that is children AND property/finance) there can be an average of 3 to 5 sessions.
STEP FOUR – END OF MEDIATION
Mediation is a voluntary process and so if either or both party does not wish to continue, then mediation will end. If the mediator believes that mediation is no longer suitable, then this will be explained to both parties and mediation will brought to an end. If mediation breaks down and you propose to start Court Proceedings, then we will sign your required Court Form.
If the mediation concludes with mutually acceptable proposals being reached, then the mediator will explain to you about the arrangements for drawing up a record of your proposals, if required, in final paperwork known as “Summaries”, about obtaining legal advice and how to make any agreement legally binding.