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

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, you may wish to check the 'Find a Mediator' tool on the Family Mediation Council website 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