Legal Aid is still available for family mediation. That means that if you are on a low income and have limited savings(less than £8000) then all the costs of your mediation will be met by the government.
How do I know if I qualify
We will assess that with you at your first free individual meeting when we will complete a form showing your income and any savings. Your savings includes the value of any properties including the family home but there are quite generous allowances for properties.
Your gross income(wages, tax credits, child benefit, child maintenance etc) before any deductions has to be £2657 per month or less.
There are then allowances for the children and any child care costs if they are living with you and for your housing costs. Plus a small allowance of £45 for the cost of going to work. After these are taken from your gross income you need to end up with £733 or less. If you are on an income based benefit such as income support or job seekers allowance then you will automatically qualify.
If you want the first meeting to be free you must send us information about your finances in advance so that we can assess you for Legal Aid. See the Legal Aid Information Sheet. This will included wage slips, bank statements, letters re:benefits and proof of rent or mortgage.
What about legal costs if I agree in mediation
There is some legal aid still available for a solicitor to draw up documents such as a consent order if the matters have been agreed in mediation and you qualify on financial grounds. Ask your mediator about this at the end of the session . They will complete a form called a CW5 Help With Mediation for you to take to your chosen solicitor.
Legal Aid for a lawyer to represent you at court
This is more limited than it used to be and is not generally available unless you are a victim of domestic violence or your child is at risk of abuse from your ex-partner. The link below explains this in more detail.
It therefore generally makes sense to try mediation first in terms of cost and speed.