What is mediation?
Mediation is when two people make decisions with the help of a neutral and impartial third person. This third person is the mediator. The mediator does not give advice, but helps people make decisions by looking at the options and working out what is best for all concerned.
Will you try to get us back together?
No. Mediation is not reconciliation or couple counselling. It helps you make plans for your children and assets after separation or divorce.
Do we both have to attend together?
Yes. Mediation can only work if both people are present at the same time. In some situations both people may be in different rooms for part or all of the meeting and the mediator goes between them.
Is it legally binding?
A financial agreement made in mediation will need to be put into a Consent Order by a solicitor and then made legally binding by the Court. Agreements about children may sometimes be put into a contact order, but the Court prefers parents to take responsibility for the agreement themselves. From April 22nd 2014, with both parents consent, a Child Statement of Outcome agreed in mediation can be made into a legally binding consent order.
What if my ex-partner changes their mind about the agreement?
If people have worked together to reach an agreement in mediation they are unlikely to change their mind unless there is a good reason. There may be changes in their life, or aspects of the agreement that need more discussion. When this happens a further mediation meeting may restore the agreement.
What are the benefits of using mediation?
Mediation is the quickest and cheapest way of making arrangements for your children and assets after separation and divorce. It can also improve communication.
Will it really work for me?
Mediation will work if both people are willing to try to accept they each have different views and needs that are important to them. Then mediation can be the best way to find out how these views and needs can be met.
How much does it cost?
Each joint 90 minute meeting is £180. If you use Essex Mediation Service and reach an agreement the total cost should be less than £800 each for finance mediation. For child contact mediation the fees are usually less. Mediation can cost a quarter of the price and take a quarter of the time of going to court.
Will I still need a solicitor?
A solicitor can provide legal advice before during and after mediation. This is important to help you make sure the decisions you are making are in your best interests.
What if the situation changes for one of us?
Sometimes changes in people’s lives mean a return to mediation is needed. This is the easiest way to make changes to any existing agreement or deal with any new issues.