Is family mediation compulsory?
No. Family mediation is voluntary. However family mediation is recommended by the family court as a process you may wish to take before resorting to litigation. Family Mediation is often considered to be the most cost effective way of separating finances and resolving arrangements for children.
Do we get advice from the mediator ?
No but mediators can give information. This is not a substitute for legal advice which will normally be recommended at some stage in the process from a divorce specialist. The mediator can help you think of options and can make suggestions. Remember – you and your partner will be trying to find the best solution for both of you (and your children) At Kew mediation our mediator is a family dispute specialist and will be helping you to explore all the options.
Is mediation legally binding?
No. Family mediation is confidential and without prejudice. When couples have reached an agreement at Kew Mediation we recommend they go to their solicitor to make the agreement legally binding.
Where does the mediation take place?
Our mediation services are based in Richmond and in Kew. However the majority of mediations are now conducted via Zoom as this is more convenient for everyone.
Is the mediator an expert in Divorce law?
At Kew Mediation our mediator was a divorce lawyer in Richmond and Kew before becoming a full time family mediation specialist. This means that she has experience helping with many issues within separation such as supervised contact, financial mediation, child inclusive mediation and other family dispute resolutions (such as issues between beneficiaries of a will).
How many mediation meetings will we need to have?
This depends on the type of mediation. Mediation involving both children and finances take 3 to 5 sessions on average. Mediation involving just children or finances on divorce or separation normally take fewer meetings. However, complicated cases can take longer and also the number of mediations often depends on how divergent positions are and how much conflict and hurt there is.
How often will we meet?
Again this depends on what you are discussing. You may wish to meet weekly, fortnightly, monthly or with even bigger gaps. For example, if you are discussing finances you may need to wait for valuations of pensions/family home before you can have a meaningful discussion. If you are discussing child arrangements you may want to try out suggested arrangements then come back in say 6 weeks to discuss how the arrangements have worked.
What if one of us does not want to come to family mediation?
In order for family mediation to work both parties need to attend sessions, either together or separately. If you or your partner does not want to try mediation then after you have attended the initial meeting (called a Miam) we will send a form to you known as a "Form A" or "C 100 certificate". This means that if court proceedings are issued the court will know that mediation was attempted. The certificate lasts for 4 months. Receiving the certificate does not mean you have to go to court but it is normally needed before court proceedings are issued.
Can we try mediation later?
Yes – you may not feel ready to enter into mediation straight away or you may wish to have a break then return to mediation. You can return to mediation in the future should you both wish to do so.
What happens if we reach an agreement about the finances and/or children in mediation?
A Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn up by your family mediator at Kew Mediation. This document will reflect your proposals. The mediator will also draw up a Statement of Finances. Parties normally then take both these documents to a solicitor to incorporate the proposals reached into a binding agreement.
Can we come to mediation at separate times?
The mediator at Kew Mediation sees you for your first meeting (the Miam) at separate times. Subsequent sessions will be joint. If communication has broken down completely we can have mediation meetings in separate breakout rooms. This is known as “shuttle” mediation. We can discuss this option with you when we meet.
How long are mediation sessions?
The initial meeting (the Miam) normally lasts about 45 minutes. We will thoroughly discuss the process with you. The following family mediation meetings normally last two hours.
Can children be involved in the mediation?
Yes. If both parents agree. This is called Child Inclusive Mediation. Whether or not it is beneficial to consult a child in mediation will depend on many factors and would be thoroughly discussed beforehand. A specially trained mediator would see the children and chat about the child’s thoughts and feelings. This will allow the child to provide their opinions to a neutral person. This can be particularly helpful if a child is saying different things to each parent. The mediator would then report back to the parents and both parents would use the information to make their own decision about the best way forward.
Can we talk about pensions and businesses in mediation?
Yes. In divorce financial mediation we will look at all your assets and explore how best to divide these assets. All matrimonial assets are included such as pensions, shares, business ownerships, property and more esoteric assets such as Bitcoin. We may need to bring in financial experts such as accountants or pensions experts.
What is a MIAMS meeting?
A MIAMs is an Mediation Initial Information and Assessment Meeting. In this meeting we discuss how mediation would work as well as other ways of reaching agreement. This allows you to decide if mediation is the way you wish to proceed. We will also prepare for your first mediation session if you would choose to proceed.
Won’t the mediation end up with us both arguing?
The mediator will try to shift the dynamics of the negotiations away from the entrenched positions. By a series of techniques the mediator encourages the parties to move away from positional bargaining to a negotiation where the parties view each other as collaborators looking for a way to solve the problem.
Do I need a solicitor?
No. However, you may wish to employ a family and divorce lawyer before coming into mediation, during the mediation or at the end. Knowing your legal position will help you to feel comfortable with the options that are being considered in the mediation. The Law Society has a list of divorce specialist all over the country and more locally there are divorce specialist in Richmond and in Kew.
The other party are refusing to go to mediation, what can I do?
Because it’s mediation is a voluntary process you can’t make anyone enter into mediation. The mediator can contact the other party to explain why mediation might be suitable, but ultimately no-one can be forced to go into mediation.
What if the mediation fails?
You are free to instruct solicitors or start court proceedings. Everything you have told the mediator privately remains confidential. Provided there is no threat to life or limb or illegal activity, nobody can call upon the mediator to repeat what was said in mediation. Even if the mediation fails you may have been able to agree some points.