Mediation to resolve problems in your family relationships
Family mediation is a way of solving disagreements in your family relationships if your relationship has gone wrong. Read on to find out how mediation works and how we at our family mediation centre can help you by offering family mediation to settle disputes.
In many cases Family Mediation can offer a better resolution of a dispute such as custody of children than can be achieved in court which often costs several thousand pounds and can take years to conclude. Family Mediation is normally completed within 3-5 meetings and our costs for the first 3 sessions is fixed at £205 per person (for those earning under £30,000pa) which is paid before the start of mediation. For others on a low income we provide a free mediation service at our family mediation centre.
You can access Family Mediation to settle disputes before applying to court, or if your case is suitable, during a court process.
How family mediation can help you
In many cases, family mediation is a better way of sorting out family disputes like access or custody of children disputes than going to court.
The court will expect you to have attended a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’, which we provide at our family mediation centre, if you’re divorcing or applying to court about:
- arrangements about children including custody of children
If you haven’t been to one of these meetings, the court may ask you to do so before it proceeds with your application or at any time once your court case starts, they can order you to attend the meeting. We provide this free mediation service as part of our free legal aid service.
How mediation works
The mediator helps you to reach an agreement without taking sides.
In family mediation, you and your family members explain your concerns and needs to each other and often the matters relate to access, custody of children or finance settlements. The independent mediator gives you a safe and neutral setting to talk and they won’t take sides. Independent Family mediators are trained to make sure that they hear both sides of the argument and our mediation process will also use biblical principles to guide you both if you wish. We have a complaints procedure you can follow where you are not happy with the service offered in our family mediation centre.
Usually all information you may give during the mediation process is private. There are some exceptions, such as if the welfare of a child is at risk. In these cases, information can be passed on to the authorities (like social services) to protect the child e.g. in a custody of children case.
Who family mediators are
Our independent family mediators come from a wide range of backgrounds, including law, healthcare, therapy and other professions working with families and children. A family mediator is trained to work with people whose relationships have broken down and they offer biblical peacekeeping skills as part of the private or free family mediation service.
Family mediation and children
Using family mediation at our family mediation centre where you can’t reach agreement over children in child custody or contact cases is less disruptive to the children than going through the court process to get custody of children (now known as a child arrangements order).
If you, the children and the mediator agree, children can speak to the mediator themselves at our family mediation centre. These independent mediators are specially trained to talk to children.
Are family mediation agreements legally binding?
Any agreement made through family mediation is not legally binding but can become binding through a simple court application. You can always take legal advice about an agreement you’ve reached in family mediation at our family mediation centre before you make it final. If you want to make the agreement legally binding, you can use it to apply to the court for a ‘consent order’. This is usually a minimal cost.
Before you go to court – Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings
Before you start court proceedings over money, property or possessions or arrangements for children e.g. custody of children, you must usually have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting which is one of the free mediation services we offer.
At a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting held at our family mediation centre, the independent mediator will try to work out if mediation can help you reach an agreement for example in relation to custody of children. They can also give you advice on any other services that may be able to help you and assess you for eligibility for the free mediation service. During the meeting, you’ll be able to find out more about mediation and ask any questions you may have. You can attend the meeting alone or with your ex spouse or partner.
If you want to meet the mediator alone, the mediator will ask you for your spouse’s or partner’s contact details before the meeting. The mediator will contact them to find out if they are willing to try mediation at the family mediation centre. If they don’t want to try family mediation, you won’t have to attend the meeting. If they agree to meeting the mediator, then as part of our free mediation service for eligible individuals you will be able to meet the mediator alone.
After the meeting, if you and the mediator feel that mediation can help you reach an agreement on finances, access or custody of children matters, you can start mediation sessions at our family mediation centre.
If you are not going to start mediation sessions at the family mediation centre, the mediator will fill in a form FM1 and give it to you or your solicitor. You should include the FM1 form with your application papers if you decide to go to court.
The cost of mediation: is mediation free?
We offer a free family mediation service to those who are on a low income. Please call us on 0300 365 2700 to arrange to meet with a family mediator at the family mediation centre or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t qualify for the free mediation service, you will have to pay for the mediation sessions. Where you earn under £30,000pa, we charge a total of £205 per person for 3 sessions of family mediation at our family mediation centre to help you reach agreement on custody of children, access and finance settlements.
Is family mediation free? The cost of family Mediation is dependant on your income and is subsidised so that everyone can access mediation at our family mediation centre. For those who are unemployed or on a low income, we will seek to obtain legal services commission funding to assist you so that you do not have to pay for the free mediation service. Please call us on 0300 365 2700 to discuss your circumstances if you think you would be unable to afford the cost of our mediation but would like to use the free mediation service.
Contact us for Family mediation
Our family mediation is open to all sectors of the community and we seek to help families reach agreement at our family mediation centre without the stress and cost of delayed court proceedings.
Please click here to complete a REFERRAL form and book an appointment.
Information crown copyright and sourced from Directgov.
Prime Time have head offices based in Peckham and Clapham and are the only community based providers of mainstream and Christian Mediation in London.