I often find that many of people I work with have recurring questions, these are some of the main ones I am asked, to help you understand a little better if mediation is for you.
Mediation is one of the best ways to resolve family conflict because it is much quicker and significantly less expensive than going to court. For most couples, be they heterosexual or same sex, married or unmarried, mediation is suitable. However, it is not for everyone. Although domestic violence does not automatically render mediation unsuitable it is an issue that the Mediator will need to assess. This will be addressed at the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The same applies to any Child Protection issues that may exist. Mediation is also dependent upon both parties being open and honest about their financial circumstances so it is not suitable where one party feels that the other party is trying to conceal assets, for example. Mediation is also not suitable if emergency court orders are needed to protect any children or financial assets.
Usually the couple sit together in the same room with the Mediator but sometimes the couple can be in separate rooms if they prefer (this is known as Shuttle Mediation).
Legal Aid is available for mediation. If one party is eligible for Legal Aid the MIAMs meetings are free for both parties. From 3rd November 2014 the Government will also fund one free mediation session for both parties where just one party qualifies for legal aid. The Mediator will assess your eligibility for Legal Aid at the MIAM.
If you are not eligible for legal aid, assessment meetings are charged at £87 plus vat each person. (£104.40 inclusive of vat).
For the actual mediation sessions we offer a fixed price of £225 plus vat per person per session. Sessions can vary in length, some could last one hour, others two or longer, but the price is fixed so you know exactly how much you are paying. This price includes preparation time for the meeting, the meeting itself and compiling the formal record of the meeting.
After the final mediation session if an agreement is reached there is a fixed charge of £250 plus vat for drafting the Memorandum of Understanding and any Financial Statement. This cost is shared between the couple equally (i.e £125 plus vat each person).
No one can force you to attend mediation sessions but you may have to attend a MIAM if you wish to make an application to the court. If, after attending a MIAM, the Mediator or you decides it is not suitable then you do not have to proceed any further with the mediation process.
In some cases it may be appropriate for the views and ideas of any children to be explored. Ashlie is a qualified Child Consultation Mediator which means that she can speak to children within the mediation process. There is an additional charge of £75 plus vat per child for a child consultation meeting. Again this cost is shared equally between you.