What is Mediation? Mediation is a voluntary way of discussing and resolving the issues that divide couples who have separated prior to divorce in an attempt to bring about a resolution that is acceptable to both parties.
It must be stressed that it is NOT a process that is in place to attempt to keep couples together. Mediation allows the parties involved to reach their own solution regarding family law and issues such as those concerning their children, property or debts.
What is the Purpose of Mediation If you intend to go to court it is always advisable to work with your solicitor, with any matters on family law, however the mediation process was introduced as an informal, less costly way for separating and divorcing couples to reach an acceptable agreement without the need to go to court.
Mediation is often a less stressful option that does not have the formal atmosphere of the court that many couples find intimidating. Family Mediation is also usually less time consuming. It is also more effective than going to court for family law because it allows couples to reach their own agreement without the need of a judgement. However, your solicitor can be present to help you and provide legal advice if required.
How long Does Mediation take? The initial family mediation meeting is very short and should take no longer than 20-30 minutes and once mediation has been agreed, the process can be completed within a day but obviously this depends on the complexities of the dispute.
Is Mediation compulsory? Although going through the mediation process is not a requirement, since April 2011 the Ministry of Justice has ruled it must be considered by all parties contemplating separation or divorce before proceeding to court. Family Law is a large part of cases hitting court.
All parties now must attend at least one Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before legal proceedings can be commenced. If no agreement to mediate can be established, the parties must obtain a form FM1 from the mediator who conducted the MIAM that has to be signed to confirm that mediation is not a feasible option in their case. Helping ease the way into family law matters
Do I have to be in the same room as my ex-partner during mediation? No – generally the meeting is between you and a member of our family mediation team to assess areas of family law unless you and your partner wish to participate in the meeting jointly.
Do I have to have my solicitor present for mediation? No. This is entirely your choice and the majority of couples find they are quite comfortable going through the mediation process without any family law legal representation. However, we suggest that you discuss mediation with your solicitor before agreeing to the process. Both parties also need to agree to mediation for the process to continue.
If an agreement is reached is it legally binding? No – but your mediator is obliged to prepare a summary of any resolution that has been reached for you and your partner’s respective solicitors. This can, if appropriate, be incorporated into a court order or other legal binding agreement.
Can I still take part in Mediation if I have moved away? No, we can arrange family mediation sessions through a video or Skype conference link, saving your travel costs and also time.
What is a MIAMS and why do I need one? A MIAM is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, a required step before starting certain family court proceedings. It provides information about mediation and assesses whether mediation is suitable for your situation before pursuing legal action.
Is attending a MIAM mandatory and when is it required? Yes, attending a MIAM is often mandatory before taking certain family disputes to court, such as issues related to divorce or child custody. It is designed to encourage parties to consider mediation as an alternative to court proceedings.
What happens during a MIAM? In a MIAM, a trained mediator meets with each party separately to explain the mediation process, discuss the benefits of mediation, and assess whether mediation is suitable for the specific situation. It’s a chance to ask questions and understand the mediation process better.
How long does a MIAM take? The duration of a MIAM varies but typically lasts around 45 minutes to an hour for each party.
Can I have a family or friend present for a MIAM? While you generally attend a MIAM alone, some mediators may allow you to bring a friend or family member for support. It’s essential to check with the mediator beforehand to understand their specific policies
What if the other party refused to attend a MIAM? If the other party refuses to attend a MIAM, the mediator will provide a form (FM1) that allows you to apply to the court for permission to proceed with legal action without attending a MIAM. The court will then decide whether mediation is still necessary or if you can move forward with your case.