The first stage in the process is for you to attend a separate (i.e. without your ex/ the other party present) Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Fees for the MIAM are £150 (inclusive of VAT) unless you qualify for legal aid for family mediation (see our page on legal aid for further information in this respect).
In the MIAM it is likely that we will:
discuss your circumstances and the options (including mediation) that are available to you
give you information on mediation and discuss whether it is likely to be helpful and appropriate for you
go through any questions you may have
if required, give you legal and practical information - e.g. the process of making an application to court
discuss and decide together what the next steps are - e.g. whether you would like us to contact your ex
if appropriate, give you information to prepare you for mediation.
If it is decided that mediation is unlikely to be helpful or appropriate, you will be provided with a signed form confirming your attendance at a MIAM, which then allows you to make an application to Court.
Alternatively, if you would like to proceed with mediation we will then contact your ex/ the other party (usually by way of letter) and invite them to attend a MIAM. Assuming that they then attend a MIAM and mediation is considered helpful and appropriate, we will then make the necessary arrangements to schedule a first mediation appointment.
If mediation is considered likely to be helpful and appropriate by all involved, the next step is to convene a joint mediation meeting between you and your ex/ the other party. We will contact you both to arrange the meeting. Usually this meeting takes places with you and your ex/ other party in the room with the mediator at the same time. However, arrangements can be made for you and your ex/ other party to sit in separate rooms and for the mediator to 'shuttle' between the two of you - this is known as 'shuttle mediation'. Arrangements can also be made, if requested, for you and your ex/ the other party to sit in separate waiting rooms prior to the mediation.
The fees for each mediation session are £175 (inclusive of VAT) per person. Each session lasts for up to 90 minutes and the fees include an emailed summary notice, which is usually sent within one week of the session. On average, clients attending mediation first usually require between 1 and 3 mediation sessions to finalise proposals.
If the mediation concerns the division of marital assets, you will be expected to engage in 'full and frank' financial disclosure - i.e. each of you will be expected to provide accurate and comprehensive information about your finances. We will therefore ask you to complete Financial Disclosure Booklets and bring these with you to the first session. If you have already completed Form Es (usually via solicitors), these forms can be used as an alternative.
As detailed above, following each session, the mediator will send a brief email setting out their understanding of the key information shared in the session. It is not intended to be a minute of the session or a formal mediation summary, which can, on request, be drafted at the conclusion of the mediation process. The formal summaries that can be produced by the mediator are:
A confidential and 'without prejudice' Memorandum of Understanding, which sets out the proposals made in the mediation
An open Financial Statement, which summarises the financial information shared within the mediation process
The fees for producing the above summaries are to be negotiated with the mediator but will usually costs between £150 - £225 (inclusive of VAT) per person.
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