Mediation is an alternative route to resolving family matters without the need for Court proceedings. Mediation offers a safe and confidential place for families to work together with a neutral mediator to find solutions. This method is often considerably cheaper and offers a number of benefits to those who wish to reach a voluntary agreement without the stress of Court Proceedings.
What happens during Family Mediation?
Usually a few meetings will be held, attended by the mediator and the couple (the couple’s lawyers do not attend). If you have concerns about being in the same room as your partner during the meetings, it is possible to conduct the process where just one of you is with the mediator at the same time. This is known as 'shuttle mediation' and each of you sit in separate rooms and the mediator moves between the two.
If mediation is unable to settle the issues, either of the parties can apply to take matters to court. If this happens, neither partner is allowed to use the content of the sessions as evidence in legal proceedings.
If agreement is reached through mediation, the couple will usually instruct their solicitors to draw up the necessary documentation to ensure that the agreement is legally binding.
A couple will have to decide in advance who will pay the mediator’s fees, although often they will each pay half of the fees. Sometimes the mediator can advise whether all or some of the costs can be met via Legal Aid or another funding source.
Our family lawyers can provide advice and support between mediation sessions. This will provide you with a clear sense of direction and guide you to a fair settlement with your priorities considered throughout the process.
MIAM - Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting
Since April 2014 it has been compulsory for anyone issuing an application into court in respect of the majority of family proceedings, including Financial Remedy and Child Arrangement unless they fall into a limited number of exemptions. If your case is assessed as suitable for mediation and the other person agrees, mediation takes place with a view to trying to avoid court proceedings. In certain circumstances the Court will decide to adjourn your case pending mediation.
We have a trained mediator in our team; Farhana Butt can offer mediation services if you are not already using one of our solicitors or if you are not using a solicitor at all. Farhana can assist you to reach an agreement in a neutral non-adversarial environment either by way of face to face mediation (where you both sit in the same room with Farhana) or shuttle mediation (where you sit in separate rooms and Farhana travels between you). We offer competitive rates for mediation and can provide a detailed estimate of the fees involved in this process.
If you require further help or advice and would like to discuss how Hunt & Coombs can help you with family mediation or any other area of family law, please contact Farhana Butt by:
Email or call 01733 882800.