Frequently Asked Questions
• Can I get legal aid?
Yes you can if you receive income support, income related JSA or ESA and do not have savings over £8000 then you will passport through to get legal aid, free mediation. If you are on a low income then you also might qualify, just call us so we can do a calculation over the telephone 01785 747322.
• How much does it cost for an assessment meeting if I don’t qualify for legal aid?
If you didn’t qualify for legal aid or just wanted to pay privately for your assessment meeting, this costs £100 which is payable at the end of your appointment.
• Do I have to sit with my ex-partner?
No we arrange to meet you both for separate assessment meetings, on your own to begin with to assess if mediation is suitable. If you both want to proceed with mediation but don’t want to sit together, we can arrange shuttled mediation, this means you are sat separately and the mediators works between the two rooms so you don’t have to see each other.
• What happens if my ex-partner qualifies for legal aid?
Your ex-partner will receive mediation free of charge for the whole process. It also means that you receive your first mediation session free of charge if you don’t qualify in your own right and we will consider not charging you for a second mediation session if good progress is made at the first session. If you require a third mediation session, you will be charged privately for this at £126 per hour if you don’t qualify for legal aid.
• What happens if my ex-partner won’t agree to mediation?
You will need to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) with us first and then we contact your ex-partner to invite them to their own assessment meeting, if they refuse we simply provide you with the relevant Court paperwork so you can proceed to Court.
• Do I need a Solicitor to go to Court?
Not if you can’t afford one, you can put a Court application in yourself, you would be called a litigant in person. If however you can afford a Solicitor then having them to act for you can be beneficial.
• What is a C100 form?
This is the Court application form you will need to complete if you want to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order to deal with contact arrangements or other children issues. You cannot apply to the Court without attending an assessment meeting with us first.
• What is a Form A?
This is the application form you will need to complete if you want to apply to the Court for a financial order to deal with finance and property matters outstanding from your separation. You cannot apply to the Court without attending an assessment meeting with us first.
• Do I have to proceed with mediation after my assessment meeting?
The government and the Courts expect that you will have both considered mediation before applying to the Court. The judge wants people to try and make decisions for themselves rather than using the Judge to do it for you. However mediation is a voluntary process and if you really feel you don’t want to, you can request the Court paperwork after your assessment meeting.
• Will it look better on me at Court if my ex-partner won’t agree?
Mediation is voluntary so it is your ex-partner’s choice if they want to attend, if they don’t and the matter proceeds to Court, then the Judge should discuss with you both at the first hearing whether you have tried mediation, if you haven’t they may refer you back out to at least attempt one session yourselves. The Courts really want people to work together in mediation before applying to the Court that is why the government offer legal aid to divert people to mediation first. The Court is the very last resort, not the first.
• What is a MIAM?
This is a mediation information and assessment meeting which usually takes place with you on your own without your ex-partner being there. This is an assessment of whether mediation is suitable.
• Can we attend jointly for an assessment meeting?
If communication is ok between you both and there has never been any issues of domestic violence or safety issues we can arrange to meet with you for a joint assessment meeting, whereby the mediator sees you separately on your own to begin with and then brings you both in to discuss the mediation process and if on the day there is time, you can both proceed into your first mediation session.
• How Many Sessions will it take?
Depending on how amicable you both are and how many issues you have to discuss we do not usually go beyond 2 to 3 sessions that are booked in for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
• Can you arrange to meet with the children?
Yes we can, we have three qualified direct child consultants that can meet with children if it is appropriate. This would only take place after a first mediation session has taken place with both parents and it is agreed by both and the mediator that it is appropriate for the child/children to be seen. Also the child/children need to agree that they want to meet with the mediator.
• Can I bring someone to my assessment meeting (MIAM)?
You can bring someone to support you to a separate assessment but if mediation goes ahead this usually only takes place with you and your ex-partner.
• How long do we have to wait to hear if my ex-partner is interested?
We usually give them a week to respond, we try to call them, text them, email and then finally write to them giving them 7 days to respond. If they don’t respond then we assume they are not interested and post the C100 or Form A to you.
• Can I pay monthly for mediation?
We do not want costs to get in the way of you trying to resolve your issues through mediation and we can offer a £50.00 a month payment scheme so that it is easier to budget. Just call us and we can discuss this further.
• My Form A or C100 Form has run out, can I get it re-issued?
You can, but it depends how out of date it is, if you attended your assessment meeting 12 months ago, we would need to see you again to re-assess if mediation is suitable. If it is a couple of months out of date we would consider charging you £30.00 to re-issue this but we would need to contact your ex-partner to inform them that we had done this.
• Will the Mediator tell us what to do?
No the mediator is there to facilitate the conversation, to keep you both on track to look at options with you and to work with you both to reach solutions rather than doing it at arm’s length through solicitors.
• Do I need a Solicitor?
No but if the mediator felt during mediation that you both should obtain legal advice between sessions they will suggest you do this?
• Is Mediation legally binding?
No but neither is it legally binding through solicitors, the only time your agreement is legally binding is when you get this turned into a child arrangements order or a legally binding consent/clean break order.
• I’m confused, doesn’t that mean I am paying for both solicitor’s fees and mediation fees?
No the benefit of mediation is that we take a chunk of work away from the solicitors which is the negotiation part, this is the bit that can costs lots of money if letters are going back and forth between solicitors. In mediation the idea is that you can get a lot more said sat in the same room than you can by sending letters back and forth between solicitors. Your solicitors are in the background if you have instructed them to advise you if this is needed but the hope is that you will use them less and less.
• Can be mediation found unsuitable?
Yes from time to time the mediator at your assessment meeting can find mediation is unsuitable, the reasons for a mediation to be found unsuitable are confidential and will not be disclosed to either client as to why it was found unsuitable.
• Can I see the mediator’s notes?
No these are confidential to the mediator and will not be available to clients. The mediator will write up an outcome letter following your session if they feel one is helpful and appropriate.
• What do I get at the end of the process if we agree to everything?
The mediator can draw up a document called a Summary of Proposals which sets out the discussions and agreements reached in mediation. They also draw up a Financial Summary which sets out the facts and figures. You can then take these documents to a Solicitor and they can take these agreements and prepare a consent order.
If you have any other questions not covered above, please call the office 01785 747322.