How to choose a family mediator.
Family mediation is not about getting back together. In fact, it is the opposite, family mediation aims to help couples agree how to live apart.
In family mediation meetings you meet together with a mediator, who has been properly trained. Your mediator has to be impartial, their role is to assist you both and they will facilitate discussions to help you resolve issues that have arisen as a result of separation and/or family breakdown. Your mediator cannot provide legal advice but can provide legal information so that informed decisions can be made about a fair agreement.
All discussions held during a mediation session are legally privileged, which means that they are confidential and not legally binding on either party. Therefore, once a resolution is reached in respect of any issue, the mediator will offer to record this in writing for the parties, but this is not a legally binding document. If you would wish to incorporate this within a legally binding document, then lawyers can be used to do that.
But how do you choose a mediator?
A good place to start is by asking friends and family for a recommendation or your solicitor if you have one.
There are also a couple of websites where you can find qualified mediators. The most popular ones are www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk and www.resolution.org.uk where you can search for mediators in your local area. Just bear in mind though that many mediators now offer online meetings to save you travelling so you don’t have to use someone local to where you live.
Anyone can call themselves a family mediator, so it is important to choose someone you can be sure is well trained and experienced. All Family Mediation Council registered mediators and Resolution trained mediators must follow a code of practice to maintain good standards in their work. All the mediators included on the Family Medication Council website have been trained by providers approved by the Family Mediation Council and most are also accredited, which means that they are experienced mediators.
It is always a good idea to call a few mediators and to ask them a few questions like;
· How experienced are you?
· Are you accredited? (If the mediator is working towards accreditation, they will be less experienced but supervised and supported).
· How many mediations do you do each year? (Try to choose an experienced mediator who regularly mediates).
· How much is your initial Information and Assessment meeting (MIAM)?
· How much will each mediation session cost each of you?
· How busy are you – are they likely to be able to see you at a time that both of you can do?
· What hours are they open. You need to be sure they offer suitable appointments that will suit your various commitments
· Do they offer all forms of mediation – online, face to face, traditional, child inclusive and hybrid mediation.
· Do they have a good network of contacts so they can recommend lawyers, valuers, accountants, tax experts and pension actuaries if you need that type of additional advice.
Prior to any mediation sessions, you will be offered a private and confidential individual Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (known as a ‘MIAM’). This is an opportunity for you to make sure you think that mediator would be a good fit for you. If, after the MIAM, you or your partner do not wish to proceed with mediation, or it is considered to be unsuitable, then this is perfectly acceptable as mediation is a voluntary process.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with your mediator, you will need to be able to trust the mediator with a great deal of confidential information.
You also want to feel comfortable that the mediator will manage the process effectively and remain impartial in their dealings with you.
So, are the mediators at Family Mediation and Mentoring the right ones to work with and support you through the mediation process? Here are our answers to the above points.
· How experienced are you? Claire and Rachael were specialist family lawyers for over 20 years before becoming specialist family mediators.
· Are you accredited? (If the mediator is working towards accreditation, they will be less experienced but supervised and supported). Yes.
· How many mediations do you do each year? (Try to choose an experienced mediator who mediates regularly).We specialise in family mediation and mediate regularly.
· How much is your initial Information and Assessment meeting (MIAM)? £126 inclusive of Vat.
· How much will each joint mediation session cost each of you? £120 + Vat per person, per hour.
· How busy are you– are they likely to be able to see you at a time that both you and your ex can do? We are normally able to offer MIAM meetings within 48 hours and these can be booked using our online booking system on our website. Joint meetings are made depending on people’s availability.
· What hours are they open. You need to be sure they offer suitable appointments that will suit your various commitments. We offer appointments between 8am and 8pm so that we can be as flexible as possible to suit peoples’ availability.
· Do they offer all forms of mediation – online, face to face, traditional, child inclusive and hybrid mediation. We are trained to provide all forms of mediation available.
· Do they have a good network of contacts so they can recommend lawyers, valuers, accountants, tax experts and pension actuaries if you need that type of additional advice. From our years’ working as specialist lawyers, we have an extensive database of experts in all the areas where additional support may be needed.
If you would like to discuss whether family mediation can help you why not book a free call using the online booking facility on our website – www.familymediationandmentoring.co.uk or send us an email at email@example.com. You could also call us on 0800 206 2258.