What is Family Mediation?

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Family mediation is a process to help couples who are separating/divorcing reach agreement on any issues which are important to them. It is used mainly to resolve issues regarding the arrangements for the children, and property and financial matters, but it can be used to discuss other issues, such as the arrangements for separation; who will issue the divorce proceedings and on what basis; the contents of the Divorce Petition and many other matters.

It is an alternative to the traditional legal process where there is typically correspondence between solicitors and, if an agreement cannot be reached, one party makes an application to the Court.

The couple are provided with a safe unpressured environment in which they can discuss their differences in a calm, structured and dignified way. The interests of any children are placed at the heart of all discussions.

The mediator will normally see the couple individually for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM). This meeting is an opportunity for the mediator to provide more information about the process. It is also an opportunity for the mediator to check that there are no domestic violence and/or child protection issues and it is safe for the mediation to proceed. The mediator will also want to know what the priorities for each person are and what they think the challenges will be.

If mediation cannot proceed, the mediator will issue the certificates the couple need to make applications to the Court.

First joint sessions – if your mediation includes arrangements for children, the mediator will  spend some time getting to know a little bit about your children, their personalities, what they like and don’t like; how they are getting on at school,; their hobbies and interests; the current arrangements; what is working well and not so well etc.

If your mediation includes property and financial matters, the mediator will take you through the Form E (the form which is used for financial disclosure) so that the two of you can decide which information and documents you need to provide and who will provide them etc. The mediator will work with you to prepare an agreed schedule of assets, income and liabilities.

The mediator will then help the couple to discuss and explore the different options available to them and consider whether they will work in reality.

The aim of mediation is to find one option which both parties feel that they can live with, even though it may not be their preferred option.

If you have any queries regarding Family Mediation or any aspect of Family Law, please contact Joanna Toloczko on 0207 703 5034 or at jtoloczko@meaby.co.uk.

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