If you are separating or divorcing, or are a parent but have never had such a formal relationship, Family Mediation helps you sort out conflicts and the details of your separation – without involving a long, painful court battle or big legal fees.
It is now a requirement that when you make an application for a court order in relation to family law disputes, you need to show the court that you considered family mediation, by having attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM), unless you are exempt.
What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation is a process where a trained independent mediator helps you work out arrangements with another participant (e.g. an ex-partner) concerning children, finance or property. We offer you and your ex-partner a safe, neutral place where professional mediators can help you work out what happens after you split up.
Relate mediators are here to listen to you and your ex-partner explain your concerns and views to each other and help you reach an agreement around things like finances, arrangements for children, property and other assets. Mediation works by helping people find practical solutions that feel fair. We won’t try and get you back together and we can help even if you’ve been separated for a while.
What happens in Family Mediation?
The initial meeting – either separately or together – will help you decide if mediation is right for you. The joint mediation sessions – usually around 90 minutes – will help you discuss and identify the solutions available to you both. The number of meetings will depend on your individual needs. When an agreement is reached, your Mediator will provide you with a written summary so that everyone is clear about what has been decided. Your agreement can also be made legally binding by the court.
Watch the video below of Irene, one of our Mediators talking about how Family Mediation works.
How can Family Mediation help?
- Family Mediation gives you more say about what happens.
- It is quicker, cheaper and less stressful than a lengthy court process.
- It is easier on your children – when parents co-operate it helps them maintain important family relationships. (*If you are worried about your kids, we also offer counselling for children and young people)
- Sorting out child contact arrangements is easy with Family Mediation
In this podcast, Irene explains more about Family Mediation:
The MoJ Family Mediation Voucher Scheme
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched a voucher scheme which will provide a contribution of up to £500 towards the mediation costs for eligible cases, supporting people in resolving their family law disputes outside of court, where appropriate.
Relate West Surrey is an authorised mediation provider. Find out your eligibility here.
Can I get a voucher if I am eligible for legal aid?
Yes, if you are eligible for legal aid you can still be eligible for a voucher.
The mediation voucher scheme is a one-off financial contribution of up to £500 and will not cover the cost of a MIAM. Legal aid will provide funding for the MIAM and all mediation sessions, if you are eligible. You can check if you qualify by using the legal aid checker on gov.uk.
If you are not eligible for Legal Aid then appointment charges will apply. For more information, click here