FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Is mediation confidential?
Mediation is private and confidential. We will not share your contact details or any of your information with anyone, unless we believe that someone is at risk of harm, in which case we have a duty to report it to the relevant authorities (e.g. Social Services or Police). 

How do I know whether mediation is suitable?
We will have a brief discussion with you over the phone when you can tell us about your circumstances and the issues you are facing and we will let you know whether we think it is worth you undertaking a MIAM.

Why should I use Family Mediation?

It is quicker, cheaper and less stressful than going to court and helps you come to agreement about parenting, property and money.  It means you and the other party are in control rather than a judge.  Mediation gives you the opportunity to sort out things that the courts and solicitor can’t, such as communication, co-operation and flexibility.  These are essential components of making any plans or agreements work well.

What is a MIAM?

MIAM stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.  The mediator will explain what mediation is, the benefits of mediation, whether or not you could apply for legal aid, how much mediation would cost in comparison with going to court and will look at your options.

Who can contact the benefit from Family Mediation?
Any adult member of a family.  You could mediate with an ex-partner, parent, sibling, in-laws, grandparents or any other member of your family.

Do you offer family mediation by video link?

Yes, during the pandemic, we have been working over Zoom to ensure mediation can still go ahead.

How much does Family Mediation cost?

This will depend upon how many sessions are needed for you to reach agreement.  As a minimum, you will each need a MIAM session, costing £65 per person and at least one joint mediation session, costing £190 between you.  The average number of joint mediation sessions needed is 2-3.  In comparison, an average court case incurs fees of as much as £8,000 to £10,000.

Can I get Legal Aid for mediation?

You are probably eligible for Legal Aid if you meet the following criteria:

  • Receive Income Support, Universal Credit, income based JSA, income based ESA, Pension Guarantee credit
  • Live on your own and earn less than £1000 per calendar month
  • Live with a partner and/or dependent children and have a household income of less than £1400 per calendar month.

However, TalkFIRST is NOT registered for Legal Aid, therefore we would signpost you to another mediation service if we felt you were eligible for Legal Aid

Is Family Mediation compulsory?

No, mediation is voluntary, however the law does require you to consider mediation and this requires that you attend a MIAM with an accredited mediator at the beginning of the divorce proceedings.  You will need paperwork signed by the mediator to prove you have attempted mediation.

How long does it take to get a divorce in the UK?

It normally takes between 1 and 4 months depending on the complexity of the situation, sometimes longer if you Mediation can help to resolve things more easily as agreements reached in mediation can be used to form the basis of a court order.

What are grounds for divorce?

To get divorced, you have to have been married for at least a year.  There is only one ‘ground’ for divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  In order to prove that is the case, one of the five ‘facts’ must apply:

Adultery – does not involve a waiting time

Unreasonable behaviour – does not involve a waiting time

Desertion

Two-year separation (you have lived apart for 2 years or more and your ex-partner consents to the divorce)

Five-year separation (if you have lived apart for five years or more, you can apply for a divorce even if your ex-partner does not consent)

But the good news is – a no-fault divorce is due to become law in Autumn 2021, potentially meaning coupes can divorces more amicably and hopefully quicker.

How can family mediation help?

Mediation can help separating couples to agree:

When and where the children will spend time with each parent

Children’s schooling, social activities, contact with other family members

What happens to the family home

How any other assets will be divided

Maintenance/support payments

Children need parents to be as amicable as possible; mediation gives you the opportunity to work out things such as communication and what happens when things don’t work as planned.

Is mediation the same as relationship counselling?

No, family mediation is about helping couples move on to the next stage of their lives rather than trying to keep them together and does not focus on the emotional issues surrounding separation.

How do I know the mediation process will be fair?

Mediators are impartial and do not take sides.  They do not give advice or make decisions for you, but will give you information about the things you should be considering and explain any legal aspects of the divorce process.  They will help you to work things out for yourselves.

What if I agree to something in mediation, then later change my mind?

Mediation itself is not a legally binding process.  The mediator will explain how to make the agreement legally binding with the aid of a solicitor and/or a court order.

What if there has been domestic abuse or violence?

Clients need to feel safe during mediation and should not feel under any kind of pressure before, during or after sessions.  It is important that you tell us if there are any domestic abuse issues.  If the situation is ongoing, it is likely we will refer you to your solicitor and advise you that mediation is not suitable in your case.

What happens if we just cannot reach agreement after mediation?

Even if you do not reach agreement, you will receive some benefit from the process.  You will both have had the opportunity to have your say and consider the future.  You will be able to return to your solicitor with some clarity about the outstanding issues.

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