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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Your individual Information and Options meeting will provide an ideal opportunity for you to ask the expert mediator any questions. However, we have set out below the answers to the more frequently asked ones.

How long does mediation take?

How long does mediation take?

This will depend on you and the complexity of the case. Each meeting lasts between 1 and 2 hours. On average two or three meetings will be needed but some issues can be sorted out in a single session. Mediations, even when they require three meetings, are usually completed within three months, making it much quicker than the court process which takes between six and twelve months. At your individual Information and Options meeting, the mediator will be able to give you a clearer idea of the number of meetings you will need and the overall timescale.

Mediation is very easy and helpful. It's also much quicker and cheaper than solicitors

Can mediation lead to legally binding agreements?

Can mediation lead to legally binding agreements?

Yes, all mediated settlements can be turned into legally binding agreements. Our mediators have a wealth of legal and financial knowledge to help you explore the different options within a legal framework. When a way forward has been found in mediation, the mediator will put the joint proposals in writing. This gives you the chance to check everything out with a legal adviser and you can then ratify the arrangements either as a contractual agreement between you or, in financial matters, you can ask the court to approve your settlement. We can explain this in more detail and answer any further questions at your individual Information and Options meeting.

The mediation process was friendly but professional and supportive. Circumstances concerning law and legal matters were explained fully and reassuringly

When should I start mediating?

When should I start mediating?

There is no hard and fast rule and you will be the best judge of when it’s right for you. Many people come to mediation soon after separating or once divorce proceedings have started as they feel motivated to sort things out at an early stage. However others find their way to us after having spent several months in negotiations which have reached an impasse. We are happy to work with you whatever stage you are at. It is never too late to talk to us, even if you have started court proceedings. And if you have already tried mediation, it may well work better a second time as not all mediators work in the same way and how you both feel about the situation may well have changed over the intervening months. Please call us to arrange an initial meeting so we can help you decide if mediation is right for you now.

I think mediation is a very useful tool to take a step back and look properly at what you’re about to do, in an informal relaxed atmosphere, that is less stressful than a solicitor

Do we have to sit in the same room?

Do we have to sit in the same room?

Mediation is essentially about communication rather than confrontation. Our mediators are very skilled at facilitating the meetings so that you both have a chance not only to put across your thoughts and ideas but also so you have the opportunity to hear what the other person is saying. At your initial separate Information and Options meeting we will discuss the different ways we can ensure you feel safe and comfortable. We can for example make arrangements so you arrive, leave and wait separately. In situations where one person finds it too intimidating to be in the same room, we can discuss using a model of mediation where you can be in separate rooms throughout the process.

Mediation provides an aid to communication so there is then a feeling of fairness

Can children be involved in the mediation process?

Can children be involved in the mediation process?

Mediation is essentially about communication rather than confrontation. Our mediators are very skilled at facilitating the meetings so that you both have a chance to explain your point of view. There is a growing awareness of the importance of making sure children’s views are taken into account when parents make decisions for them. All our mediators focus the discussions in mediation on the children to help parents keep the needs of their children in the forefront of their thinking. However sometimes it becomes clear that the child’s voice needs to be heard in a more direct way within the mediation process. Where this is appropriate we can offer a child the opportunity to speak to the mediator on their own so the child can express his or her feelings about the situation. These can then be relayed back to the parents if the child wants, so helping the parents in their thinking and discussions about the parenting arrangements.

We found the whole process professional and focussed on our needs

What support is available for people with disabilities or other disadvantages to participate in mediation?

What support is available for people with disabilities or other disadvantages to participate in mediation?

We make every effort to ensure that our services are available to people who have disabilities or sensory impairments or who do not speak English fluently. There is disabled access at nearly all our offices. We can organise interpreting support for those who need it. Clients with difficulties arising from other health issues can also be supported, and this can be discussed fully at the Information and Options meeting.

Overall, a great service