Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the process work?
Once we have been contacted by you, we will arrange an initial individual appointment for you to meet the Mediator. This appointment is called a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). We will also write to the other party and invite them to attend a MIAM. At the MIAM you will discuss your circumstances with the Mediator. The Mediator will provide you with information about the process and will assess whether your circumstances are suitable for mediation. You will also be assessed for legal aid. You can then decide whether you think mediation is right for you. If you and the other party wish to attend after you have had your MIAM, a first session is arranged that you both attend together with the Mediator. Each session lasts 1-1½ hours, following which the Mediator will provide a written summary of the discussions that took place.
- Can I have a solicitor during Mediation?
Mediators can provide you with general information about the law and how the legal system works. We cannot, however, provide you with legal advice. Mediation works alongside legal advice and the Mediator will recommend that you seek advice from a solicitor either throughout or at the end of the mediation process. If you are discussing financial issues following a separation, you will need a solicitor to formalise any agreement in a legally binding document.
- How do I make an appointment?
If you are interested in mediation, you can contact us directly either by telephoning Jo Morgan or Tanesha Begum on 01522 551613 or by completing our online referral form. If you complete the form you will then be contacted within 24 hours.
- My ex-partner has contacted you and I have received a letter inviting me to a MIAM. I am worried that you will take sides with my ex.
A mediation referral will always be made by one party. This does not mean that we would take sides with either of you. Our role as a Mediator is to remain completely impartial regardless of who made the referral to us.
- I’m worried about my safety.
Mediation is a voluntary process. In some cases mediation will not be appropriate. We will assess whether your circumstances are suitable for mediation during your individual meeting with the Mediator. If you are worried about your safety it is important that you discuss this with us during your individual meeting. We will make sure that you are not put in a position where you feel unsafe. We may also be able to arrange shuttle mediation, where you and your ex partner sit in separate rooms.
- Am I required to attend Mediation?
Since 22nd April 2014, it has been compulsory to attend a MIAM prior to making an application to the court. Broadly-speaking, this will include applications in private law proceedings that relate to children and/or financial concerns. However, this does not mean mediation is compulsory, only the initial meeting.
- What are the benefits of Mediation?
- Speed – Generally mediation takes 4-8 weeks. Court proceedings can take months to be resolved.
- Cost – If you are financially eligible for legal aid, mediation will not cost you anything. If you do pay for mediation, it is cheaper than dealing with your issues through the Courts or instructing solicitors.
- Creativity – Mediation allows you to be creative in dealing with the issues you need to resolve. These can include issues that the Court cannot resolve for you.
- Control – You will always be in control of the outcome. This makes it very different from Court where ultimately a Judge would impose a decision upon you.
- Communication – Because mediation encourages you to work together to find a solution it can improve communication between you.