Family law - Mediation Taylor&Emmet are well-established and respected providers of legal advice in the field of family law and our family mediation has many years’ experience in practicing family law, but mediation offers a less acrimonious and more cooperative way of successfully working your way through the process of a separation or divorce. Call our family mediators on 0114 218 4000 or tell us what happened so we can help. The aim it to reach a point at which the family can move on and continue to co-exist to the extent that they need to, following separation. Successful mediation helps separating couples to avoid potentially high legal fees thus preserving the assets that they have built up to meet the needs of the family in the future, and the inevitable distress and anxiety which accompanies such a life-changing event is kept to a minimum. Mediation is also usually much quicker that going to court. Average length to resolve issues: Mediation – 4 months Court – 15 months What happens in mediation? Our first meeting with each of you normally takes place separately. It’s called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). At this meeting you get the opportunity to talk through your issues with the mediator and the mediator can find out about your particular situation and concerns. After that, if you’re both agreeable and we feel that mediation is right for the two of you, you will be asked to attend one or more appointments together. Following mediation we will write up the outcome and if requested write an agreement into a formal document which can become the basis of a court order, if you feel you need one, for example in financial and property matters. How much will mediation cost? Legal aid is available for mediation appointments provided you are eligible. If you are in receipt of Income Support, Income-based JSA, Income-based ESA, Pension Credit guarantee / Universal Credit you are likely to be eligible for legal aid; people who are on low incomes may also qualify in certain circumstances. If you are not eligible for legal aid, the charges are as follows: Joint meetings - £105.00 per hour +VAT = £126.00 per person Preparation of documents Record of individual sessions – No charge Formal Agreement (k/a Memorandum of Understanding) and financial summary (k/a Open Financial Statement) * - £126.00 per hour inc VAT per person. Usually takes between 1hour and 2 hours depending upon complexity of agreement and financial circumstances of the parties. Including children and young people in the mediation process. Children and young people often want to know what’s happening when their parents separate. They often feel that their opinions and views are being ignored and that they have no say in how their lives are going to be affected. Your questions Frequently asked questions Is family mediation only for married couples? No. We can help married, unmarried and same sex couples to find solutions to family disputes. What if my partner and I are still living together? Do you think mediation could be helpful? This may be a difficult time for you, but it may be a good opportunity to agree arrangements for separation, particularly those for the children. What kind of issues can mediation help to resolve? We can help you to work out both the division of family assets and arrangements for children. In cases where divorce is an issue, we can help you and your partner to agree the basis of a divorce petition around the table. If I come to mediation, do I still need to incur the cost of a solicitor? Yes. You will need a solicitor to give you your own independent legal advice. Even though almost all our mediators are lawyers, they cannot advise each of you separately, but can only provide legal information to both of you together. Do you think I will save money by attending mediation? There is no doubt that when couples are separating, resources are frequently limited. We are sure you will find that costs are substantially reduced by working out arrangements for separation around the table. The initial meeting will give you and your partner an opportunity to learn about the mediation process. You will then be able to make an informed decision about whether it is the right course of action for you. It will also give the mediator an opportunity to assess you for public funding and check whether your case is suitable for mediation. How long do you think mediation will take? As soon as you and your partner have each attended an initial assessment meeting, we will make an appointment for you to attend a meeting together. Many of our cases are settled in 2 or 3 joint meetings. In cases where there are a number of family assets, it greatly speeds up the mediation process if you can obtain valuations of assets in time for the first meeting. Transfer values of pensions are often difficult to obtain and can hold up the mediation process. They should be applied for at the earliest opportunity. How can we help? Children and young people can find it helpful to speak with someone independent but who is aware of the family situation – someone who is trained to listen, such as a family mediator. Children and young people (of an appropriate age and understanding) can be offered the chance to meet and talk privately with a mediator as part of their parents mediation – if they, their parents and the mediator feel it would be helpful. They can only be invited to meet with a mediator once their parents have had one or more sessions together in mediation. The children and young person are not being asked to make decisions – that’s for their parents to do, but it often benefits the children to be able to tell someone how they are feeling about what’s happening and how it’s affecting them. They may decide they do not want anything sharing with their parents or they may agree that some things can be shared.