About Mediation

Mediation helps you to help yourself (and sort out the best future for you and your children):

  • By taking the step to mediate, you are empowering yourself to make your own decisions
  • This is done by talking through and working out all issues surrounding your divorce or separation, whether it be before, during or after the event.
  • Mediation improves communication and helps you build for the future in your new circumstances. In particular it can help your children maintain their family relationships.
  • Mediation is usually less than half the cost and twice as quick as only using a solicitor
  • CFFM is a specialist not for profit family mediation service with experienced highly trained staff who have experience in children, finance/property and the legal system.

Our trained mediators provide you with the tools to untangle all the strands around family breakdown, find new ways of communicating and most importantly help parents to help their children make the necessary adjustments to family life.

Our goal is to ensure the best outcomes for each client, in order to build a strong foundation for a positive and happy future.

If you are a solicitor or other professional wishing to refer clients to our service please download and complete our referral form.

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Who is family mediation for?

  • Parents
  • Divorcing couples
  • Teenage parents
  • Grandparents
  • Adult siblings
  • Parents & adult children
  • Other members of the extended family where communication and/or relationships are problematic.

Family mediation can help improve communication, help you make decisions about future arrangements for the children and help you make decisions about property and finance as it affects your separation.

What can be mediated?

  • Contact arrangements
  • Residence of children
  • Parenting
  • Communication
  • Maintenance and Child support
  • Finance
  • Holiday arrangements
  • Property – the family home
  • Sharing possessions
  • Pensions / Endowments
  • Settling of debts
  • Education

What can mediation provide?

  • A safe neutral environment in which to discuss things
  • Impartiality
  • An organised and constructive process
  • Options for you to explore
  • A lasting agreement for the future

MEDIATORS DO NOT:

  • Give legal advice
  • Offer counselling or therapy
  • Make decisions for you

What can mediation achieve?

    • Improved future relationships – you are able to move forward and make a new start
    • Exploration of all issues – our mediators can help you identify the real issues and guide the discussion in an open and fair way
    • Simplicity – the process is informal, straightforward and constructive
    • Control – you remain in control and as mediation is voluntary you can stop the process at any time
    • Flexibility – unique solutions negotiated to suit each particular case
    • Saves time – and avoids the stress of a lengthy legal process
  • Saves money – Legal costs are kept to a minimum

How long might mediation take?

When we receive the initial referral we will aim to see you for the individual assessment meeting within 2 weeks.

Any further mediation sessions will then be arranged at a timescale to suit both of you and the mediator The number of sessions can vary – if your are sorting out finances and children’s matters(“All Issues Mediation”) then the average is between 3 and 5 meetings.

If you are only discussing children’s matters then 2-3 joint sessions is usually enough to resolve matters.

However, the time needed depends on:

  • Individual circumstances
  • The number and complexity of the issues that need resolving
  • How flexible you can be regarding days/times for appointments
  • Most sessions last for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Step by step guide

 Step 1 – Make a Referral

To our Service via the form on our website. Click here

 A mediator will then have a brief free telephone consultation with the referrer which can cover your options including, but not limited to, mediation and provide information about court processes etc. We also give you information about fees and Legal Aid. If you are eligible for Legal Aid then mediation is completely free. Click here to see Legal Aid Information sheet

 

Step 2 – Decision to use our service

We now need either:

  • Proof of Legal Aid eligibility
  • Non refundable referral fee £40

This then covers you for all letters and phone calls.

We usually write out and then talk to your ex-partner to engage them in the mediation process.

This small fee funds our telephone help and also ensures that you have made a serious commitment to try mediation.

 

Step 3 – Both of you willing to try mediation

We then set up free initial individual meetings which will last about half an hour for both of you to find out more about mediation without incurring any significant costs.

We can see people alone or together. We find that many people prefer to come on their own for this session because it helps them to get things clear, to explain how they feel and what they are concerned about, as well as what issues they need sorting out.

If you prefer an initial joint meeting to avoid delay or as you are travelling some distance that is fine just discuss that when you make your referral.

However there will always be a part of the appointment that is for you on your own and we will also talk to you both separately about violence, intimidation or harassment which might make mediation unsuitable for you.

The mediator will also discuss with you what you hope to achieve and answer any questions that you may have about the process.

 

Step 4 – Starting to mediate properly

You meet together with your ex-partner and a trained mediator in a series of joint meetings. As much of the work in mediation is about improving communication then joint meetings are the most effective approach.This is usually around 2-3 for children’s matters and may need more for complicated financial issues. You decide after each meeting if you want to continue.

Before each joint meeting we ask for part payment as a non-refundable Booking Fee of £50. This is then deducted from your session fee with the remainder paid at the meeting.

Note: The first joint session is free for both of you if one of you qualifies for Legal Aid apart from the £50 Booking Fee (later sessions chargeable).

 

Step 5 – Providing you with a detailed outcome

 The mediator will then prepare a written agreement recording the decisions that you have made together.

You have the opportunity to see a solicitor for legal advice before committing yourself to a legal agreement or court order

 This is free for children’s matters and costs £100 for financial issues.

 

Returning to mediation

Mediation is a flexible service and you are free to re approach us at any time if your circumstances change

If mediation is not going ahead and you are applying to court then you normally attend a “Mediation Information and Assessment meeting” (MIAM) and have a form completed to show you have considered mediation.

It is a requirement that anyone applying to court on children or financial matters has to attend a meeting with a mediator (with some exceptions such as domestic violence, urgent court applications).http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/courts-and-tribunals/courts/procedure-rules/family/practice_directions/pd_part_03a.htm This recognises that adversarial courts proceedings are often not the best way to resolve private family issues which are often best resolved through discussion and agreement, where that can be managed safely and appropriately. CFFM ‘s staff are all qualified to undertake these meetings and the content will be as in our other initial meetings – exploring whether mediation is right for you and assessing whether you are eligible for legal aid. If mediation is clearly not going ahead because the other person is not willing to take part then we will complete the form you need to file with any court application. In those circumstances there will be a small charge for the meeting and completion of the form (£80 plus VAT (£95).but again free if you qualify for legal aid.

However, if a joint mediation session has taken place then there is a £45 charge including VAT for the service to complete the form.

 

Is there a charge for mediation

CFFM is a not for profit service and registered charity. We are pledged to make mediation available to all regardless of ability to pay. However we must obviously cover our costs to remain financially viable. Our charging policy is as follows:

  • Free brief initial telephone consultation for all
  • Initial small referral Fee of £40(no charge if eligible for legal Aid) to cover letters, phone calls and initial meetings
  • Free introductory appointment – This will generally last around half an hour and give you information about mediation to help you decide whether this would help in your particular situation.
  • Free for clients funded by the Legal Aid Agency
  • Charged on a sliding scale for others based on simply covering our costs and keeping fees as low as possible.

There are no hidden costs. You pay a fixed fee for the session at the end of each meeting and nothing more. No charge is made for letters or telephone calls. At the end of the mediation process if it involves financial matters there will be a small charge should you choose to have a Memorandum of Understanding drafted, setting out the final proposals.