What is mediation?
Dialogue Mediation provides support to couples and families before, during and after separation and divorce. It is a voluntary and confidential process that helps you make joint decisions about all aspects of your separation including parenting arrangements, finances and property.
The agreements negotiated during mediation can help restore communication, understanding and trust between you and your former partner.
Due to recent changes in government thinking, mediation is becoming the preferred method to resolve and prevent family disputes, rather than taking these matters through the courts.
Who can use mediation?
Mediation is not couple counselling and works with those who have identified that their relationship has ended.
We offer mediation to everyone regardless of age, race, nationality, sexuality, mobility or faith. For those whose first language is other than English, interpreter services can be provided.
Mediation is available to other family members, such as grandparents, who may be having difficulties over contact with grandchildren or residence arrangements.
Who are the mediators?
Our mediators are professionals with a wealth of skills and experience in family mediation and conflict resolution. All are qualified to provide publicly funded (‘legally aided’) family mediation on behalf of the Legal Services Commission.
What do the mediators do?
Our skilled and impartial mediators are experienced at dealing with people in conflict. Our mediators do not tell you what to do. They are there to help you identify your goals for mediation, explore options and reach your own agreements concerning your futures. The mediator will not take sides or decide who is right and who is wrong or give advice.
We recommend that you use a solicitor to obtain independent legal advice alongside the mediation process.
What issues can be bought to mediation?
You are free to discuss any issues in mediation, typical issues bought to mediation include:
- the timing of a separation or divorce
- how to communicate the changes taking place to your children
- where your children will live
- arrangements for contact with both parents and other family members
- where both parents will live and how it will be paid for
- what will happen to the family home and contents
- how any savings or investments should be divided
- what maintenance or child support payments will be paid
- whether pension sharing is appropriate
- how joint or individual debt will be dealt with
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation provides a safe environment and a framework in which you and your former partner can negotiate. Our mediators facilitate a constructive dialogue to take place between the two of you about changes you need to make for the future.
Mediation can lower hostility, save legal costs and reduce the time taken to reach agreements and provide a written document, called a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines the agreements you reach.
What if my former partner does not want to come?
We usually arrange for both of you to attend an initial meeting with a mediator at the same time but we are able to arrange separate meetings where this is not appropriate. However, mediation cannot take place unless both of you voluntarily attend joint mediation sessions together.
Can I bring my children with me to mediation?
It is not appropriate for children to be involved in mediation sessions.
Your mediator can discuss with you how to talk to the children about the changes taking place to help them understand what is happening.
It is important that children can express their concerns and feelings and it is possible for a child to be seen separately by the mediator in a Child Consultation, if both parents agree, and the child’s wishes brought back to the mediation if he or she is happy to share them.
How long does mediation take?
The time taken for mediation depends on each situation. We usually estimate an average number of 1-2 sessions for Parent & Family Issues, 2-3 sessions for Property & Finance and 3-4 sessions for All Issues. Each session lasts for 1½ hours.
How much does it cost?
A set of standard charges apply for our services. These are calculated on the basis of £90 plus VAT per hour per person (as of 1st January 2013). Details of these charges are available on request.
We are able to offer free mediation to clients who are eligible for legal aid. Eligibility will be assessed in your initial meeting. If you are eligible for legal aid, the fees for the initial meeting, mediation sessions and documentation are provided free of charge.
Do I still need a solicitor?
We recommend that you use a solicitor to obtain independent legal advice alongside the mediation process. The record of the agreements reached during mediation is not legally binding but this can be used to create a Consent Order which can be approved by the court and become binding on both parties within divorce proceedings.
How do I find out more information or make an appointment?
To find out more about Dialogue Mediation or to make an appointment please contact our Mediation Convenor, Sophie Bradley on 01273 320511 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org