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

Step by step guide

Initial consultation

You will have a free telephone consultation and then we can write to your ex-partner or other people involved as appropriate to see if mediation can be explored further.

If it is clear that there is no prospect of mediation at that stage then you can either end your involvement with us or have a single Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting(MIAM) to sign your forms to apply to court showing that you have considered mediation first(see next section for more detail)/ The cost for that meeting is £75 plus VAT(£90) unless you qualify for Legal Aid.

If the other person involved is willing to consider mediation then we will then set up initial meetings either by you paying the one-off Application fee of £40 plus VAT(£50) or assessing you for Legal Aid. If you qualify for Legal Aid the whole mediation process is free. See the Legal Aid Information Sheet.

Initial meetings

First, the mediator meets you and your ex-partner, ( usually separately but can be together) to explain the process of mediation and to check that it is suitable for you. We can see people alone or together, but 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.

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.

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

Mediation Information and Assessment meetings (MIAMS)

From 6 April 2011 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 change 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 not going ahead 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 (£75 plus VAT (£90).

Joint meetings

Following the initial appointments if you both wish to go ahead then your first joint appointment will be arranged. As much of the work in mediation is about improving communication then joint meetings are the most effective approach.

In the joint meetings the mediator will help you settle issues and reach agreement in ways that will best meet the needs of children as well as parents.

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

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.