Mediation is not...
- Counselling or therapy - it's about dealing with the practical side of separation
- Trying to get couples back together
- Finding fault or taking sides - it's about helping you and your former partner to decide what's best for you and your family
- Getting cheap legal or financial advice
- A faster, cheaper way to agree the terms of your divorce or separation, avoiding upsetting and expensive court actions
- A safe and neutral space to talk about practical issues involving children, money, pensions or property
- Assistance from experts who can help you reach an agreement, not to hold you back from one
- A proven successful way of reducing conflict
Mediation about children
When parents split up mediation can help them decide what is best for your children. Problems like where your children will live, or how they will see you both, can be discussed. It is important children continue to enjoy a close relationship with both parents if at all possible. If agreements are reached, they will be written up into a statement of outcome by the mediator. The statement of outcome provides a road map for the future arrangements agreed by both parents and makes further arguments less likely.
Sometimes, following a mediation session with both parents (if you both agree and the mediator does too) your children may be asked what their feelings and wishes are. This does not mean your children can make their own decisions but it can help the mediator to understand how they feel about plans affecting them. Children have the same rights to confidentiality as their parents. Children must approve any information from their interview before it is passed on to their parents.
Mediation can also involve other family members, such as grandparents, who may have difficulties over seeing their grandchildren.
Mediating about property and finances
We can help separating couples work out the best financial arrangements for their future. This means looking in detail at everything owned by the family and developing ideas about how it should be divided. We need you to give full disclosure in this area so that an effective agreement can be made.
The mediator will ask you to fill in a number of forms giving full details of what you earn; what you spend your money on; your property; pensions, loans or other debts; and other important information. Using this information, you will be helped to negotiate on such matters as the family home, maintenance and child support, possessions and future benefits such as pensions. If agreement is reached a Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn up at the end of mediation. The Memorandum of Understanding can be used as the basis for a Consent Order to be made by the court in divorce proceedings. This can be done with the help of solicitors or by yourselves.
Compulsory Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAM)
Since April 2013, anyone wanting to go to court to reach a settlement on the terms of his or her separation has to have had a one to one meeting with a mediator. You will need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before making a court application.