FAQs relating specifically to divorce and relationship mediation

Simply click on the + sign to read the answer.

what is family mediation?

Family mediation is a way of solving disagreements without involving the courts in expensive negotiations if your relationship has gone wrong. In many cases, mediation is a better way of sorting out family disputes than going to court. An independent third party (the mediator) helps to find options and reach proposals to resolve issues arising over their children, divorce or associated financial/property matters. We can help married couples, unmarried couples of mixed or same sex and family members.

Why is mediation a good alternative to court proceedings?

  • It’s quicker, generally 2/3 months with on average 3/4 sessions, whereas the court process may take a year or a year and a half to complete,
  • It’s cheaper, costing several hundred pounds per party rather than £10,000/£15,000 per party for court proceedings including in a final contested hearing. If you are legally aided it may even be free.
  • Mediation leaves better feelings between parties because arrangements have been agreed rather than imposed by a court. This can help over many future years where divorced people meet, for example at christenings, weddings and funerals.

What happens at mediation?

Normally persons involved in a dispute will be seen separately or together (if they agree) first. If the people involved and mediators feel that mediation will be of help then you will be offered either one or a series of meetings depending on the circumstances of the case. The mediators will provide a safe setting where your discussions can take place. Mediators have special training so that they can deal with hard discussions. Mediators can also help you to understand the information you will need so that you can decide the best way forward which is fair to everyone involved.

What is a MIAM?

“MIAM” stands for “Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting”. A court will expect you to have attended a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM) if you’re divorcing or ending a civil partnership and applying for a court order about finances, property, or arrangements for the children. If you haven’t been to one of these meetings, the court may ask you to do so before it proceeds with your case.

What is the cost of my first meeting (or MIAM)?

At Leonard Gray this meeting is completely free. If you decide not to proceed with mediation, you will require an FM1 certificate to show your solicitor. This certificate costs £60 including VAT.

What is the full cost mediation likely to be?

Leonard Gray Mediation Service has been approved to undertake work paid for by the Legal Aid authorities. If you qualify for Legal Aid then in most cases the mediation sessions will be free of charge to you. There will be no deduction from any eventual monies or property which you receive as a result of receiving Legal Aid as this is paid for by the Government. If you do not qualify for Legal Aid then a set hourly rate per mediating party will apply which will be agreed with you in advance. Each mediation session is paid for at the beginning. We would suggest that you telephone our mediation service on 01245 264764 or email us on smccarthy@leonardgray.co.uk to check the current sessional rate for mediation if you are interested.

How many mediation meetings will I need?

This must depend on the type of issues which are presented and the complexities of your particular circumstances. Family mediation will normally involve a series of meetings of about 1 hour each over several weeks. Most family mediations are complete in about 3 to 6 meetings. Sometimes this can be shorter or longer depending on the type of issues arising. Once a decision is reached, the mediator will draw up a Memorandum of Understanding which you can then discuss with your solicitor, who can then produce the paperwork necessary to finalise and implement the agreement.

Where would I come for the mediation meetings?

Our safe, private offices in central Chelmsford have separate entrances, waiting rooms and mediation suites. We are a two minute walk from Chelmsford Rail Station and offer free car parking for clients. Click here for a map.

Do we have to attend together?

Your partner will be asked to attend at the same time as you; however we acknowledge that in some situations it is just not possible, or desirable for you to meet in the same room.  Leonard Gray offers a service called ‘shuttle mediation’ where no face to face communication takes place. Instead your mediator acts as a go-between and you will remain in separate rooms throughout the session.

Express Mediation Service

In emergency situations, mediation sessions can be arranged within 24 hours (ask for our express mediation service). This is particularly useful on urgent child contact/residence problems.

I am interested in mediation so what should I do now?

Please contact our office if you would like further information on mediation on 01245 264764 or smccarthy@leonardgray.co.uk. You are very welcome to have an informal discussion with one of our mediation co-ordinators who can help you further.