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What we do

Jacqueline Gregory Family Mediation was established in 1998 and offers a personal high quality mediation service in Cheshire and South Manchester.

I offer privately funded mediation for all issues arising on relationship breakdown.  This includes making arrangements for children, consulting with children to ascertain their wishes and feelings, resolving financial matters (including complex and high value cases), and deciding how and when to start divorce proceedings if required.

I adhere to the codes of practice of the Family Mediation Council and The Family Mediators Association.

Mediation is a voluntary process, it is impartial, and enables couples to shape their own arrangements for their children, separation, finances, property, debts and the future within a timescale and in a manner which they can control.   It can provide a unique opportunity for people to share thoughts and feelings which are important to them, to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings,  and to help future communications.

I aim to help you to make your own practical and realistic solutions to the issues you face without the distress and cost of court proceedings.

Mediation meetings are held in either Stockport or Macclesfield whichever is more convenient.

What people say.

"I wanted to thank you for all you have done for us. It has been very helpful to be able to talk through issues regarding finances, childcare and general points of consideration for both of us.  I can honestly say that in the few months we have worked with you I have gone from being totally soul destroyed, scared and worried about the future, to happy, carefree and able to plan for a new start. Without the guidance and help of mediation we would not have been able to even discuss issues let alone resolve them.  I found the calm non-threatening environment very helpful in progressing towards our aims and resolutions"

" Many thanks for all your help. I really thought this wasn't going to work. We both realise that this has been the right way to deal with our issues and can't thank you enough for your patience and advice which has proved invaluable.  I feel that we can both move forward with the divorce, and am confident that we can provide a stable and caring environment for (our daughter) in the future."

"a very professional service – very welcome at a difficult time.  Mediation was very helpful as It gave us time and opportunity to explain the concerns we wanted to discuss.  We can now communicate better than before and have been able to finalise our agreement through solicitors."

" thanks for the session you had with the children. We both think it was a really good thing for them."

" since our mediation meeting we have been able to have a good chat to resolve things – it was quite emotional. I feel as if a weight has been lifted. (our daughter) has been much happier on contact visits and I have enjoyed them much more."

The Mediation Process

I will be happy to speak to clients on the phone free of charge to give further information about my mediation service. For contact information click here.

If both parties have decided to proceed with mediation then all that is needed is to phone me to make a suitable appointment, and  each should then complete the mediation referral form and return it to me. 

Download the Mediation Referral Form here (word document - opens in new window)

At the first meeting I would spend a few minutes with each person separately to ensure that there were no matters which may make the process unsuitable. We would then proceed to a joint meeting to consider which items needed to be resolved and what next steps should be.

For those who are not sure if mediation is the best way forward, I can offer a Mediation Information and Advice Meeting (MIAM) which explains the mediation process and allows me to assess whether there are any matters which might make mediation unsuitable.  This normally takes about an hour, and I would talk to the parties separately.   It is now a requirement of the courts that any person wishing to issue a court application in relation to children or financial matters will normally be required to attend a MIAM first, and will need forms  signed by a mediator to indicate that either mediation has not proved suitable or that it has broken down.

Each meeting may last up to two hours.  The number of meetings required depends on the extent and complexity of the issues to be resolved, but on average three or four meetings would be required to resolve financial matters,  and one or two for children issues only. 

I do offer a consultation with children as an option.  For full details of the process for consulting children can be viewed here 

I do not take sides or make decisions for you.  I help you gather all the information to explore the options open to you.  I can give information about the legal framework and how it works, but cannot give legal advice as to what you should do.  I make sure that during meetings certain ground rules are respected, thus allowing discussions to be as balanced and productive as possible.

I will suggest, where necessary, that both parties obtain legal advice to enable them to make fully informed decisions about settlement.   Having legal advice in parallel with the mediation process increases the likelihood of a mediated settlement being adhered to and converted into a legally binding court order.   Normally solicitors will be needed to make any financial agreement reached in mediation legally binding, and to deal with transfers or sale of property or assets.

Where financial matters need to be resolved, full financial information must be given.   I will explain at the first meeting what is required by way of completed forms and documents.  This information enables both parties and myself to have a clear view of the position as a basis for discussions and enables solicitors to give proper legal advice.  The same information would also be required by a judge who was being asked to approve an agreed court order.    If for any reason matters cannot be agreed in mediation, then the financial information provided can be used by solicitors without having to repeat the process, thus saving time and money.

All financial information is provided on an ‘open’ basis so that it can be used in court if need be.  All other information and discussion is confidential or ‘privileged’ and may not be referred to in court.  The only exception to confidentiality is if there appears to be a risk of serious harm to a child, or if there is a requirement of disclosure under the money laundering regulations.

With the parties agreement,  I will prepare a summary of the financial information provided and a summary of any agreed settlement proposals.  This will enable solicitors to make them into a legally binding form should the parties wish, and it should be remembered that proposals agreed in mediation are not legally binding unless this happens.

Payment is required for each meeting at the end of the meeting, and in advance for preparation of mediation summaries.  The cost is normally shared between the parties unless they agree something different.  Payment may be by cheque, cash or internet bank transfer on the day of the meeting. For details of charges click here (link)

Meetings are held in offices in either Macclesfield or Stockport whichever is more convenient.  The offices currently being used are at 250 Park Lane Macclesfield SK11 8AD and 11th Floor Regent House, Heaton Lane, Stockport. SK4 1BS.   Both have parking close by and the Stockport venue is within easy walking distance of the station.

 

 

Jacky Gregory FMCA, Family Mediator

Since training as a mediator in 1998, Jacky Gregory has acquired a wealth of experience mediating all issues arising on relationship breakdown, including arrangements for children, financial issues, and consulting with children to ascertain their wishes and feelings.

Jacky's background is as a solicitor. She ran her own legal practice in Stockport for over 20 years, latterly specialising in family law, but left private practice in 2003 to enable her to focus on family mediation and her part–time judicial role.

She has undertaken extensive training since 1998 in relation to family mediation practice, including areas of child psychology and child consultation.  She has also undertaken training and acquired much experience in relation to her judicial role, which includes deciding cases in relation to children and family finances.

Having experience of family law issues from three different perspectives – advocate, judge and mediator - Jacky is passionate about mediation as the best way forward for most people to resolve issues arising on separation, especially where there are children.  She has a real understanding of the stresses and emotional issues which arise on separation, and seeks to reduce upset for couples and their children by creating a safe and comfortable environment in mediation.

Jacky works to the code of practice accepted by the Family Mediation Council.   She is accredited as a Senior Mediator with the Family Mediators Association, and a member of the Mediation Northwest group.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Is mediation intended to get us back together?

Mediation is not intended to bring about reconciliation.  It is to help couples who are separating to talk about arrangements for the future and reach agreement.  It can improve communication.

2. Is mediation like counselling?

Mediation and counselling are quite different.

Counselling helps people to understand feelings and emotions, and may help to develop insights into the problems in the relationship.  This could bring about a reconciliation or an agreement that separation is the best course of action.  Mediators have a great deal of experience of dealing with highly emotional situations empathetically, but their primary role is to help couples to make practical arrangements for the future.  If it appears that both parties might be willing to consider reconciling, or that people are struggling with very strong emotional issues, then I might suggest a referral to counselling.

3. Do we still need solicitors?

Mediation and legal advice are complementary.   Whilst I will help you to gather all the information needed to shape your own solutions to the issues you face, it is important that any agreement reached is done with the benefit of full legal advice about your position.  During the mediation process I will suggest an appropriate time for seeking legal advice where necessary.  Once agreement has been reached you will still need solicitors to draw up the documents if you need to make it legally binding, or to deal with implementation e.g. transfer or sale of property.  Using the mediation process will vastly reduce the amount of legal costs you will incur and allow you to reach agreement more quickly.

4. Do I have to go to mediation before I can go to court?

The court rules now require anyone who is considering issuing an application in connection with arrangements for children or settling property matters on divorce, to meet with a mediator first to see if mediation is likely to be appropriate. This is called a MIAMS meeting.  There are a few exceptions to this requirement.  Mediation does, however, remain a voluntary process and nobody can be forced to mediate against their will.  Even if you start mediating you can decide not to continue at any time, and indeed the mediator can bring the mediation to an end if she thinks it is no longer helpful.

5. How do I get referred to mediation?

You can ask your solicitor to make a referral, or simply complete the form on this link and send it to us, or give us a call on 07778 411196.

6. What are the benefits of coming to mediation?

It can help couples who are going through one of life’s most stressful and upsetting experiences regain control of what is happening and restore dignity and respect.  Even the most cooperative couples find that they need a neutral third party to help them sort out all the arrangements for the future.  People have reported appreciating:-

  • Reduced hostility and improved communication, and a better chance of long term cooperation
  • Emphasis on common objectives rather than the hostility and misunderstandings created through the court process
  • Focus remains on the  needs and welfare of the children, and allows the parents to reframe their relationship following separation and develop new ways to communicate and cooperate
  • Can provide the children with a voice and a sense of being heard
  • Parties remain in control of the process and the speed at which matters should progress
  • Provides a massive reduction in time and cost to sort matters out so both can move on with their lives
  • Reduces the chance of animosity which might damage the children.
  • Allows each a real opportunity to express thoughts and feelings and to hear the thoughts and feelings of the other

7. What is it likely to cost versus the court process?

The total cost of sorting matters out in mediation typically costs hundreds rather than thousands of pounds each.

If matters go through the legal process to a final hearing at court, a typical cost could be anything upwards of £20,000 each, depending on the level of complexity.

8. Do I have to be in the room with the other person all the time?

I will see each person separately at the start, to make sure there are no matters which might make mediation unsuitable or difficult.  Your safety and wellbeing are most important.  Where possible, meetings would then continue on a joint basis, as this is the quickest and most effective way of reaching agreement, and of building a good basis for future communications.  In cases where it is too difficult for parties to be in the same room, mediation can proceed on a ‘shuttle’ basis, where I go between separate rooms to speak to the parties.

9. How long are the meetings?

The meetings would not normally be longer than two hours. Mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMS) take about an hour.

10. Where will the meetings take place?

The meetings are held in serviced offices in Stockport or Macclesfield, whichever is more convenient. The rooms currently used are at 250 Park Lane, Macclesfield SK11 8AD and 11th Floor Regent House, Heaton Lane, Stockport SK4 1BS.

11. Does the other party have to have my address and phone number?

It is not essential, although it is usually desirable where there are children involved.

12. Do I need to give the other party and the mediator full details of my finances and copy documents?

Yes.  Discussion of financial matters can only proceed on the basis of full disclosure of financial information.  The mediation would have to be brought to an end if disclosure is not given.  It is necessary to give both parties and the mediator a clear picture of the financial position so that they can formulate a settlement that works and appears fair to them both.  It is also necessary to obtain proper legal advice, and would be needed by a judge who was being asked to approve an agreed financial order.  If full disclosure is not given and this became apparent later, there is a risk that any agreed settlement could be overturned.

13. Is mediation confidential?

The discussions in mediation are confidential and cannot be referred to if the matter subsequently went to court.  There are certain exceptions to this as follows:-

  • All financial information disclosed is on an open basis, and may be used in court proceedings if necessary
  • If there appears to be a serious risk of harm to you or a child I would be obliged to report the matter to the appropriate safeguarding authorities.
  • I am required to make disclosure to the  appropriate government authority of any matter which appears to be within the money  laundering regulations.

14. Can I speak to the mediator on my own?

It is possible to speak to me separately, but you should remember that I am impartial and cannot keep secrets once a mediation is underway.  This means you should not share matters which you would not wish the other party to know.

15. Are matters agreed in mediation legally binding?

Matters you agree on in mediation are not legally binding unless your solicitors make them into a court order.  This would typically be needed in relation to financial matters but not necessarily in relation to arrangements for children.

In certain cases it can be helpful to have solicitors join in with the final mediation meeting so that they can help fine tune the detail, and draw up legally binding documents for signature at the meeting.

16. Does the mediator see the children?

Yes in situations where you and I agree that it would be helpful, and where the children wish for this to happen.  This would only be arranged after a full discussion with you both to ensure that it is the right way forward.  I am trained to consult with children and have enhanced DBS clearance.  For more information please go to Consulting with Children in Mediation

17. What does it cost?

We charge £100 per hour per person.  Payment should be made at the end of each meeting, or in advance for mediation summaries as agreed.  If is appears  that you may be eligible for legal aid I can refer you to another mediation service as I do not provide a legal aid service. You can find out if you are likely to be eligible by going to www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

 

 

Family Mediation - MIAMS - Divorce disputes - Custody issues in divorce - Mediation in Cheshire - Mediation in Stockport - Mediation in Macclesfield