Family Mediation Solicitors - Family Law Partners

We can advise how mediation can be used as an effective way of resolving family law issues, including arrangements for children.

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Family Mediation

Our team of experts are highly experienced in family mediation and recognised by the Legal 500. We regularly advise clients on how mediation can be used as an effective way of resolving family law issues, including arrangements for children. Sarah Jelly, Hazel Manktelow, Gemma HopeKate Elliott, Mark Harrop, Farhana Shahzady, Hannah Viet, Louise Buttery, Sarah-Jane Riddell, Jayne Llewelyn, Emily Pain and Alice Scambler are the team’s professionally trained mediators.

We are one of the only family law teams in the country to have a fully embedded Family Consultant within our mediation team. Family consultant Kim Crewe, and our Director of Client Wellbeing, works alongside our mediators to help couples find a constructive, positive way to communicate and focus on the needs of the whole family.

What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is a voluntary process where an independent, professionally trained mediator helps separating couples find solutions to issue that arise as a result of divorce or separation. As we explain below, it is also possible – indeed we believe it is a real benefit for almost every couple- to have a family consultant involved within the mediation process. Unlike other firms, this is something that our clients can benefit from when instructing us to support them using mediation.

Our Approach to Family Mediation

Our team of experts are highly experienced in family mediation. As a firm we regularly advise clients on how mediation can be used as an effective way of resolving family law issues, including arrangements for children. Sarah Jelly, Hazel Manktelow, Gemma Hope, Kate Elliott, Mark Harrop, Farhana Shahzady, Hannah Viet, Jayne Llewelyn, Emily Pain, Louise Buttery and Alice Scambler are the team’s professionally trained mediators.

Our team take the following approach:

  • We will skilfully guide you in your discussions.
  • We will give you guidance as to whether the terms you want to reach will be approved by the court.
  • We will provide a safe and structured forum for discussion.
  • We will help you to find the solutions.
  • We will facilitate and control the production and review of paperwork and ensure ideas and proposals are reality checked.
  • Where appropriate we will invite you to involve your children in the process, enabling their voices to be heard.
  • We will ensure that decisions are balanced and safe.

We have put together a range of downloadable resources to explain some of the benefits of mediation, how the process works and why it might be right for you. To access each resource, click on the circles below.

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What are the benefits of Family Mediation?

  • It can be conducted at a pace that suits you and the partner you are separating from; courts can be slow and dates inconvenient;
  • can be conducted at a pace that suits you and your partner; courts can be slow and dates inconvenient;
  • It should be considerably less expensive than using the court;
  • It helps reduce the potential for distress that court proceedings would create;
  • It allows you and the partner you are separating from to set the agenda and discuss what is important to you;
  • It provides an opportunity to speak face to face at a time when emotions are running high and when the next time you meet might otherwise be in a court room;
  • It is a process that encourages open and honest communication and co-operation;
  • It provides a forum to allow you to create solutions tailored to your needs;
  • It is non-adversarial; this is in contrast to the court process;
  • You can involve the children if deemed appropriate to do so; it can be very powerful to give children a voice in a process they often feel they have no control over;
  • It will enable you to draw on the mediator’s experience, skills and understanding to find a solution that works for you and the partner you are separating from.

If you are consulting us and wish to be referred to a mediator we will direct you to someone who will be able to assist you and the spouse/partner you are separating from.

If you are consulting us after you have seen a mediator we will direct you to one of our lawyers who can look at the paperwork and advise you on its implications as well as providing a third-party view and ‘reality check’ on its terms. We can also assist with incorporating its terms into an order for the court’s approval and implementation.

Family Consultants in Mediation

We are one of the only family law teams in the country to have a fully embedded Family Consultant within our mediation team. Kim Crewe, our Director of Client Wellbeing, works alongside our mediators to support clients before entering into, and during,  family mediation.

A family consultant can help a couple prepare for the mediation process, they will be given a safe confidential space in which to explore their ideas of how they see the arrangements for the future. The family consultant will support the couple in their communication skills and reduce misunderstandings to ensure the mediation process runs as smoothly as possible.

It can be very beneficial for the couple if the family consultant works alongside the mediator during the mediation sessions. They are able to bring their experience of working with children and young people to help the couple prioritise the needs of their children, they can also help to facilitate the conversation at times of tension.

We are able to offer fixed fee packages for mediation, including those cases which include support from our Family Consultant. We would be delighted to talk to you about family mediation and how the process works, and is enhanced, by including Kim Crewe in the process. If you would like to know more about this approach please contact us.

Alternatives to Family Mediation?

Family mediation is just one of the dispute resolution processes we offer. In addition to our professionally trained mediators, we have expertise in collaborative law, family law arbitration and solicitor-led negotiation.

For more information on our mediation services and guidance, please refer to our blog which covers different topics on the subject of mediation: https://www.familylawpartners.co.uk/category/mediation

If you would like an appointment with one of our family mediation solicitors in Brighton, London, Horsham, Essex, Kent, North Hampshire & Surrey or South/Mid Hampshire then please contact us on 0330 055 2234.

Answering common questions about family mediation:

What happens at family mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process, where a series of meetings take part in a transparent, open way. Unless you are using the Hybrid Mediation process, the mediator cannot hold confidences and therefore if family mediation happens it is always on the basis that all information will be shared. We have written a detailed guide to the mediation process here.

How much does mediation cost?

The majority of mediations are concluded in 3 to 5 sessions, with each session usually lasting 90 minutes. This makes family mediation a far more cost-effective approach than court proceedings.  We are able to offer fixed fee packages for mediation, including those cases which include support from our Family Consultant.

Who pays for mediation costs?

Generally speaking each person pays their own costs, but you can agree otherwise with regards to how the costs will be paid for. You may be entitled to Legal Aid/Public funding to cover your costs if you are on a low income and have limited capital assets.

If I refuse mediation will it go against me in court?

Whilst family mediation is a voluntary process, there is an expectation by the courts that in cases relating to finance and/or children that you and the partner you are separating from will have attempted mediation before applying to court. It is now a legal requirement that before making a court application that the applicant attends a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) beforehand – unless an exemption, such as urgency and domestic violence, applies.

Is mediation legally binding?

Mediation outcomes themselves are not legally binding. At the end of the mediation process, the documents that are produced by the mediator can then be provided to your respective lawyers who can then advise and assist in finalising matters for you in the most constructive and cost-effective way.

Can I skip mediation and go straight to court?

As we have outlined in the FAQ above, the courts expect parties to have attempted family mediation before proceeding with a court application. It is a legal requirement that before making a court application that the applicant attends a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is a meeting conducted by a professionally trained family mediator who will explain the different dispute resolution options and assess whether mediation is appropriate for your circumstances.

How to prepare for family mediation

It is extremely common for separating couples to disagree and feel unable to meet agreement over certain issues. This doesn’t mean that family mediation won’t work for you. A MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) is the first step and is designed to be an opportunity for a specialist family mediator to talk to you about family mediation, how the process works and how you can enter into it with the best intentions of finding a resolution to your issue. We have a family consultant embedded in our mediation team who can also help you prepare from mediation and support you both emotionally through the process.

What is Hybrid Mediation?

Hybrid mediation is a dispute resolution option that is particularly suited to high conflict or complex cases, as it facilitates the inclusion of lawyers directly into the process, and allows parties to sit in separate rooms. Hybrid mediation is a combination of the family and civil mediation models. The participants are helped to focus on the issues, explore the options and formulate proposals for settlement.

A hybrid mediator will only share information between the participants which they have been authorised to disclose. This means that hybrid mediators can have separate, confidential meetings with each participant to help find solutions. The participant’s lawyers, where instructed, usually have a more active role in the process.

What is Civil Mediation?

Civil mediation in this context is mediation that is used to assist unmarried couples resolve issues (for instance commercial disputes, disputes about inheritance, property disputes) as opposed to family mediation which is used to resolve issues regarding divorce, financial issues between divorcing couples and/or arrangements for children after their parents separate.

Participants usually instruct lawyers to support them throughout the civil mediation process and it will normally be expected that a civil mediation would take place over a day with the aim being to reach an agreement on all issues.

At the end of a civil mediation if agreement is reached and court proceedings have been issued, often a binding Tomlin Order is drafted to conclude any civil court proceedings or, where no court proceedings have been issued, a binding agreement will be drafted.

Mediators who have completed the civil mediation training will be registered with the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) and work to a different Code of Practice and protocols from family mediators. Under the CMC code it is expected that the outcomes of a civil mediation will be binding.

You have more choices than you might think

We are committed to advising you of all the options available to you, and (unlike other family lawyers) will support you with solutions that avoid the traditional court process.

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Taking care of you emotionally and practically

We are one of the only family law teams to have a Family Consultant within our team. Find out what this means for you and your family.

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