Family mediation is a way for couples who are separating or going through a divorce, or who have already separated to sort out arrangements for children and/or finance and property. Compared with going to court it can be quick, effective and relatively low in cost. Mediation puts the individuals very much in control of making their own decisions.
If you think you would like to consider mediation as a way of resolving issues with your former partner you can arrange to come in to our centre for a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting).
A MIAM is a one to one meeting with a family mediator which lasts for up to 45 minutes. You can explain your situation and the mediator will work out with you whether mediation is suitable and safe.
At the end of this session if you want to proceed and you both agree it is suitable we will try and contact the other party and invite him or her to come in for a MIAM. If he or she wants to proceed and the mediator agrees it is suitable we will invite you in for a mediation session which will last for an hour and a half. If the other party does not respond or does not wish to consider mediation we can sign the form/s you need for court.
please contact us and we can help you further.
In mediation sessions you will sit down in a room with the other party and one or two of our family mediators. The mediators will help you to have a conversation about arrangements for children and/or property or finances. You will both have a chance to speak and be heard and express your wishes and feelings. Where you reach agreement the mediator/s will record this and write up a mediation session summary, outcome summary or parenting plan. It may take more than one mediation session to reach agreement depending on your situation.
Memorandum of Understanding
For agreements on property and/or financial matters a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be produced. This is not a legally binding document but you can seek legal advice about going to court to make it legally binding.
Advantages of mediation over going to court:
• children benefit because of reduced conflict
• it can be done quickly: it may be completed in days rather than months compared to litigation and the court process
• costs are likely to be far less than lengthy court proceedings
If you are on benefits or a low income we can assess you for legal aid.
If not sure if you are eligible see https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid.
From 1st June 2017, if you are not eligible for legal aid, a MIAM will cost £90. This charge includes VAT and the signing of any forms needed for court.
Joint Mediation Sessions
Income up to 30k and not eligible for Legal Aid: £120 per person per session. Discretionary rates may be available, in consultation with the Service Manager, for clients who narrowly miss eligibility for Legal Aid.
Income 30k – 60k: £140 per person per session
Income over 60k: £160 per person per session
For those not eligible for legal aid assessment of income will be made based on self-declaration by clients
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Open Financial Statement (OFS)
Eligible for Legal Aid No fee payable
Income up to £30k £120 per person
Income £30k – £60k £140 per person
Income over £60k £160 per person
If you require a copy of the Open Financial Statement before the MOU, half the total MOU/OFS fee is payable.
NB All prices include VAT and there is no additional charge for signing court forms
SMC offers free mediation to those who are eligible for legal aid. If you are on a low income we can assess you at your MIAM and if you are eligible your MIAM and any mediation sessions will be free. If one party attends a MIAM and is assessed as being eligible for legal aid the Legal Aid Agency will pay for both parties’ MIAMs and the first mediation session.
Our Family Mediator
Our family mediator is Ursula Little.
Ursula is an experienced Family Mediator who has dealt with many cases of Child only, Property and Finance and All Issues mediation. Ursula trained as a Family Mediator in 2010 and is accredited through the Family Mediation Association (FMA) to carry out both private and publicly funded mediation. She is also a member of National Family Mediation (NFM).
Ursula has particular experience of dealing with high conflict child arrangements, relocation cases and child arrangements with an international aspect, social services and child protection cases.
Ursula has experience of pension sharing arrangements, the implications of separation on family business arrangements and property and finance disputes between unmarried couples.
Ursula has also had experience of other types family mediation cases including probate disputes, wills, care of the elderly and wider family breakdown.
Ursula is bilingual and is able to mediate in French.