What happens if mediation fails?

If you are unable to reach agreement, you can still go to court.  Details about what went on during the mediation cannot be disclosed or used at a court hearing, so you will not be disadvantaged by anything said or done in mediation.  Nevertheless the discussions which you have had in mediation will have helped to clarify the issues which you will need to take to court.

Mediation even if it fails will have given you much clearer understanding of the issues and you may even have been able to agree some points and reduce the length of any court hearing.

Can children take part in family mediation?

The wellbeing of children is at the heart of family mediation. Your children can be part of the family mediation process and voice their feelings and wishes. Both parents have to agree before children can be part of the family mediation process.

The mediator would see your child/children separately and then feedback what the child expressed to you during the mediation session. The mediator agrees with the child/children what can be fed back to the parents.

MMK Family Mediators are qualified in Direct Child Consultation and have been CRB checked.

How does a grandparent get involved in family mediation?

Mediation can offer a flexible and informal way to help re-establish contact with your grandchildren. Grandparents in the UK play an important but often unrecognised role in the lives of their grandchildren.  Most grandparents wish to continue to have a loving relationship with their grandchildren and to be a part of their lives. For this they need the full co-operation of the children’s parents.

If the relationship has broken down mediation can help.  Within mediation the parties can explore the reasons for the breakdown of relationship, establish realistic expectations of each other, regain trust of one another and look at possibilities for restoring contact.

Family Mediation is voluntary and is only effective with willing participants. Mediation provides a safe environment for families to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. If you are a grandparent who would like more information about how Family Mediation can help you contact us

When do I pay for family mediation?

MMK Mediation and Consulting will send you invoice with confirmation of each appointment explaining how and when to pay. There are no hidden charges.

Payment is made for the FM1 before it is issued. The charge for meetings is payable at or before the meeting. The charge for documents is payable once we are ready to commence drafting. The documents charged for are normally produced at the end of the mediation e.g. Memorandum of Understanding and Open Statement of Finance.

Who do I pay for family mediation?

Payment by cash or cheque can be paid on the day to the mediator. You can pay in advance by BAC. An invoice will be sent to you with confirmation of each appointment explaining how and when to pay.

Charges are for time spent face to face in mediation sessions and include any general correspondence, telephone calls and emails. There are no hidden charges. The number of mediation sessions required varies depending on issues and circumstances. Your mediator will advise on this at your initial meeting.

How do I pay for family mediation?

MMK Mediation and Consulting accept payment by cash or cheque or BACs. Payment is due on the day of the session or in advance by BAC. An invoice will be sent to you with confirmation of each appointment explaining how and when to pay.

Payment is made for the FM1 before it is issued. The charge for meetings is payable at or before the meeting. The charge for documents is payable once we are ready to commence drafting. The documents charged for are normally produced at the end of the mediation e.g. Memorandum of Understanding and Open Statement of Finance.

The number of mediation sessions required varies depending on issues and circumstances. Your mediator will advise on this at your initial meeting.

What happens if we cannot agree during mediation?

Even if the mediation fails you may arrive at a much clearer understanding of the issues. If you are unable to reach agreement, you still have the options of going to court.  Details about what went on during the mediation cannot be disclosed or used at a court hearing, so you will not be disadvantaged by anything said or done in mediation.  However the discussions which you have had in mediation can help clarify the issues which you will need to take to court and may reduce the length of any court hearing.

What happens if my partner doesn't want to take part in mediation?

We usually arrange separate initial meetings (MIAMS) for each of you, so that you can discuss your situation individually and find out more about the mediation process. This is usually very helpful in enabling anyone who is unsure about mediation or uncertain about how it can help them to understand and agree to the process.

However, mediation cannot take place unless you both voluntarily attend. If one party simply does not wish to explore the option of mediation, then it cannot proceed.

What is an open statement of finance?

The aim of Property and Financial mediation is for the mediator to help you to agree a financial settlement which you both consider to be fair and reasonable and which takes full account of the needs of any children.

The first step is to compile a detailed list of all assets, liabilities (debts), income and expenditure.

The mediator will then use this information to help you explore a range of options for your financial settlement and to reach an agreement on the way forward which you both consider to be the best for all family members. It is important that any decisions you reach are based on good and accurate information, so the mediator will suggest that, where appropriate, you take further advice from, for example, solicitors, mortgage or financial advisors.

The agreements reached are written up by your mediator in a document known as a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’. You will also be provided with an ‘Open Financial Statement’ detailing the financial information disclosed in mediation. The Memorandum of Understanding is not legally binding but can then easily be converted by a solicitor into a ‘Consent Order’ or a ‘Deed of Separation’ for the court to approve which finalises matters, and makes them legally binding.

What is a memorandum of understanding?

MIAM stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.

The aim of Family Mediation is to enable the participants to reach agreement on the issues –typically these include finances and children.

The agreements reached are written up by your mediator in a document known as a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’.  This document will reflect your proposals. Agreements reached in mediation are not binding. Parties normally then ask their solicitors to incorporate the proposals reached into a binding agreement.

What is a MIAM?

A MIAM is a compulsory mediation meeting which applies to anyone who wishes to apply for a children or financial order in the family courts. The court will expect that each party has attended a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with an approved mediator.

A MIAM is a confidential meeting between each of the parties which takes place separately with a mediator who can deal with the issues and is qualified to carry out the MIAMs. The hope is that early information and advice about mediation will help to bring down the number of court applications which do not need to be made as the parties progress to resolving their issues with the assistance of a mediator.

During a MIAM your background circumstances are discussed, and the process of mediation is explained. It then considers whether mediation would be appropriate as a means of resolving potential disputes which would otherwise need to be settled by the courts.

Mediation is not compulsory but if you are making the application to court for children or financial matters then you will need to attend a MIAM. After the MIAM either party can opt out of the mediation process if it feels it is not appropriate to continue by mediation. The courts expect any respondent to have attended a MIAM if invited to do so, and at the first hearing the court will ask if the parties have considered mediation. The court will take into account any failure of not complying and can decide to refer the parties to a meeting with a mediator before the proceedings can continue further.

If the parties wish to proceed with hearings at court rather than continue by mediation, form FM1 is completed by the mediator. This form will need to be presented to court by instructing solicitors or the parties themselves if acting in person.

What is an FM1 form?

The Government on the 6 April 2011 introduced a new procedure for anyone wishing to apply for a court order linked to children or their financial circumstances relating to the breakdown of their relationship. From the 6th April 2011, before such an application can be made to the court the parties will first have to have attended a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with an approved mediator and obtain a Form FM1 to show that they have done so. MMK Mediation is approved to issue FM1 forms.

The MIAMs have been introduced to ensure that the parties have considered mediation as a possible means of resolving disputes. It is generally recognized that an adversarial court process is not always best suited to resolving family disputes. It is hoped that early information and advice about mediation will help to reduce the number of court applications as the parties’ progress to resolving issues with the help of their mediator.

The purpose of this meeting is for the mediator to explain what mediation is and how it works.

Once they have attended a MIAM the parties are given the opportunity to consider whether they wish to proceed to mediation. If mediation goes ahead a series of meetings will be held to address the issues in dispute. Both parties will attend these meeting. At the end of the process the mediator will prepare a document/s recording the agreement/s reached.

If the parties do not wish to proceed the mediator will issue form FM1 which, if you wish to proceed with legal hearings, will need to be presented to court, either by your solicitor or by yourself if self-representing (litigant in person). The matter can then proceed through the court

Why choose MMK Mediation and Consulting for my mediation services?

At MMK Mediation and Consulting we understand that many people would like to work out their arrangements together with input from an impartial specially trained We offer a service that is:

  • Accessible – we have premises in Coventry, Leamington Spa. Kenilworth and Stratford upon Avon.  All our offices are in or near city centres with good public transport links and parking close by.
  • Affordable – at MMK Mediation and Consulting we offer a cost effective service. We are accredited by the Legal Aid Agency to provide public funded mediation. If you are eligible for Legal Aid then family mediation is free. We can assess you for free family mediation at your first meeting –see information on Fees and Funding …..
  • Professional – our family mediation service is a member of the College of Mediators one of the professional organisations of the Family Mediation Council, the family mediator body recognised by the Ministry of Justice. Our mediators are specifically trained in family mediation and receive on-going supervision for their family mediation work. As we offer a mix of private and legally-aided work we are regularly audited by the Legal Aid Authority and have to adhere to the high standard of practice demanded by them.

MMK Mediation’s mediators are very experienced and highly skilled. They are fair and focused, sensitive and supportive, will listen and respond quickly to provide you with a highly professional service.  We understand that no two couples will have exactly the same problems. We know that it is likely you will both be having a difficult and upsetting time. We work with you to find the best solution for you, to suit your timescale and in a cost effective way. Once you have decided you wish to proceed we offer a speedy first appointment and an efficient service.

How do I book an MMK Family Mediator?

You can contact us by phone, through our website or by post. You may also be referred to us by your solicitor, your local CAB or other local services.

A phone call to 01926858790 will start the process. You will speak to a knowledgeable and experienced member of staff who will explain to you the family mediation process, answer all your questions and book an appointment with you for an initial meeting. We have premises in Coventry, Leamington Spa, Stratford upon Avon and Coventry.

Here is a Client referral form which you can complete and return to us by email. We will then contact you by telephone to agree an appointment.

You may be given a Client Referral Form by your solicitor. You can complete this form and return it by post and will contact you to arrange an appointment.

Your solicitor may refer you to us. Usually this means they send us your details and ask us to contact you direct to arrange an appointment.

Are family mediation services the same as solicitor services?

No – family mediation is different.  Solicitors are not allowed to act for both sides, as they are obliged to act in their clients’ best interests  so  separating couples have to use two separate sets of lawyers, which means two sets of bills.

A mediator is independent and neutral and is able to talk to both sides – they work for the benefit of all parties. There is just one mediator who, through the mediation process, will gain a clear idea of the feelings, wishes, hopes and fears of both parties. This means the process of reaching agreement should be quicker, less expensive and less aggressive.

The mediator will assist the parties in gathering all the relevant financial information and, by using use their skills and knowledge, help the two sides to come to an agreement that will be acceptable to both of them and to the Courts.

Does a family mediator replace a solicitor

Family Mediation does not replace the need for solicitors; it can work with or without lawyers, though family mediators will recommended, as appropriate, that independent legal advice is sought.

Mediation is not intended to replace legal advice and the mediator will encourage both you and your ex-partner to seek legal advice throughout the process, and in particular at the end of the mediation process.

Any agreement reached during family mediation in respect of financial matters may be incorporated into a formal separation agreement or court order as appropriate. A solicitor can advise you in relation to this as and when it becomes appropriate.

Is family mediation legally binding?

No. Any agreement reached through the help of the mediation service is not legally binding. If both parties agree, a without prejudice agreement/document can be prepared (known as a ‘memorandum of understanding’) based on the outcome of mediation. An application can be made to the Court to convert it into a Court Order, which would then be legally binding. This would be undertaken by your solicitors.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation deals with issues and conflict within a family including separation, divorce, parenting arrangements, and property and asset division.

For couples and families, mediation is a safe, flexible and confidential process which assists couples who are separating to discuss arrangements for their future with the help of a neutral third party – a mediator. It is accessible and affordable way of helping families reach agreements which take into account all their needs, concerns and interests (and those of the children) without the need to initiate a court action.

Family Mediation can be used for all couples – married, common law and same sex and all family members including children, grandparents and siblings. The parties, not the mediator, make the decisions about the terms of their agreement.

Why use a family mediator?

Mediation can cut the emotional cost of divorce or separation by reducing hostility between the parties.

  • Family mediators often speed the whole process up – whether it be a divorce case or disagreements about arrangements for children – simply by getting couples together to work out a solution rather than exchanging seemingly endless correspondence between solicitors.
  • Mediation avoids expensive court battles.
  • Because mediation keeps couples talking, it can have a hugely positive effect on children who benefit simply from knowing their parents are working together to sort things out.
  • Mediation encourages couples/family members to work out their own solutions, leading to the best outcome for everyone involved.

What is the process for family mediation?

The family mediation process involves the following: the mediator will meet you either separately or together at an Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) prior to mediation taking place. The assessment meeting gives you an opportunity to find out more about mediation and also for the mediator to look at your case.

Once you are both happy to go ahead with mediation you will have regular meetings with the mediator until proposals are reached. This usually takes about three to five meetings of an hour and a half each.

The mediator will then draw up a record of your proposals in an agreed format (Memoranda of Understanding or Parenting Agreement). If the mediation looks at finance and property the mediator will also draw up a full summary of your financial position (Open Statement of Finance). If required, these documents can be taken to your solicitor for a legally binding agreement to be drawn up.