“Family disputes that are resolved through mediation are cheaper, quicker and according to academic research, less acrimonious than those that are settled through the courts” Report from the National Audit Office 2/3/07 www.nao.org.uk
The mediation process:
Unsure how it works? Download the SFMS Mediation Process Flowchart in PDF format.
What is family mediation?
- Impartial, practical help for separating/divorcing couples and families with or without children
- A confidential facility that enables separating/divorcing couples to work towards resolving difficult issues
- A means of seeing through the confusion and improving communication
- The opportunity to pursue fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable agreements without the need to go to court
- The first meeting can be joint or separate. All subsequent meetings are joint
Who can use the mediation service?
- Couples going through separation or divorce
- Parents seeking to discuss arrangements for their children
- Grandparents or other relatives seeking to discuss arrangements for time with children
What can be discussed in mediation?
- Future arrangements for children
- All financial issues associated with separation and divorce
- How arrangements can be made legally binding
- Any other issues which are important to the separating/divorcing couple and their family
Can children have a voice in mediation?
- Yes! Children can have a separate appointment to ensure that their wishes and feelings are properly understood and if they want certain points to be fed back to Mum & Dad, we can do this.
- This separate appointment is called Child Consultation
What do mediators do?
- Explain the mediation process
- Assess each persons willingness to participate
- Help separating/divorcing couples break through barriers and seek agreement
- Offer suggestions without pressure
- Check concerns about violence, intimidation and child safety
- Prepare documents required to draw up legally binding agreements
- Provide additional, helpful sources of advice and information
Mediators do not:
- Provide counselling – we can give you a list of recognised counsellors
- Give advice – your solicitor will help you with legal advice
- Make decisions – all decisions are made by separating/divorcing couples
- Communicate with you in between appointments – the mediators are impartial
- Make reports for courts or other agencies – discussions in mediation are not disclosed to 3rd parties
What does it cost?
- We have a franchise with the Legal Services Commission to offer free mediation to those who are eligible
- If one party is eligible for LSC funding then both parties receive the first meeting free
- Where neither party is eligible for LSC funding, both parties pay a fee
- The level of fee payable will be assessed at the first meeting using a sliding scale of fees based on gross income
- We do not charge for Child Consultation meetings when they form part of the mediation process
THE NEXT STEP……
Fax to:01372 749908
Scan and email to:email@example.com
Post to:Surrey Family & Mediation Services
Unit A, Aviary Court
138 Miles Road, Epsom
Surrey, KT19 9AB
If you are considering going to court about separation issues you need to know that you will be required by the court to demonstrate that you have explored mediation as a means of resolving your separation issues. Contact us by telephone or email to arrange a Mediation Information & Awareness Meeting.
The initial Mediation Information & Awareness Meeting can be joint or separate. All subsequent meetings are joint.