Mediation for Divorce – Simplified Guide
Table Of Contents
What is mediation?
Mediation is a way of helping people discuss the sort of difficult or emotive topics that would often otherwise turn into arguments. The aim is for both parties to agree on a way forward that they can both live with.
It is a completely voluntary process and needs some give and take on both sides; it is not a case of one side winning and the other side losing, but coming to an agreement that is fair to all concerned.
The mediator is like a referee – they will help keep the discussions focussed, make sure everyone gets to have their say, and that one party does not dominate the discussion.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the mediator will not tell you what you have to do or make any “rulings”.
It is for the participants involved to reach their own agreement.
The mediation process involves:
- MIAM: The Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. The mediator will hold an individual, and confidential, MIAM with each party. The mediator will explain the process, and how it works, then ask you about any concerns you have about the process, how you see the situation, and what your ideal solution would be.
- Mediation session(s): If both of you, and the mediator, agree that mediation is a suitable way to help, you will then have one or more joint mediation sessions, where you will discuss the issues that you need to agree on and try and come to a solution you can both agree to. Depending on the complexity of your situation, agreements can often be reached in two or three sessions, although it could be more or less.
- The outcome: If you come to an agreement in your mediation sessions, this will be documented, and a copy given to both of you, confirming what has been agreed and who has agreed to do what. If you and the mediator agree that you are not able to come to an agreement, your mediator will give you options for what you can do next.
How can mediation help me?
The most difficult conversations when couples are divorcing tend to be around how to split finances or child arrangements – how both parents will get enough contact with their children after the divorce to continue their parental relationship with them.
An agreement arrived at through mediation can be used by Divorce Online to prepare a financial consent order or child arrangements order asking the courts to confirm the agreements you have made so they become legally binding on both of you.
What happens if my ex will not do mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process, and no one can be forced to take part.
However, mediation is usually a much cheaper way than the alternatives. And because you are making the decisions yourselves, these are more likely to be acceptable to both parties than one arrived at through solicitor negotiations or a court order, for example.
If your ex will not cooperate, or if you are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, your mediator will give you a certificate confirming that you have attended a MIAM and that mediation is not a suitable way to resolve your disagreement.
You will need this certificate if you have to ask the courts to make a decision. Your personal advisor will be able to explain what your next options will be.
Is mediation expensive?
Divorce Online recommends Direct Mediation Services for all your mediation needs.
Like Divorce Online, they are committed to providing a quality service at affordable prices.
Mediation costs from £130 per person for the MIAM and £130 per person per hour for the mediation sessions. Depending on how complex the issues you need to agree on are, you will often be able to reach an agreement in two or three sessions.
Mediation is much cheaper than instructing solicitors to negotiate for you, for example, which can easily run into thousands of pounds.
If you are on a low income or receive certain benefits, you might qualify for Legal Aid which will cover the whole cost of your mediation sessions. Get in touch with Direct Mediation Services for further details.
You no longer have to use a mediation service before starting an application for divorce.
However, mediation can be an extremely cost-effective way of agreeing on child arrangements after your divorce and how to divide up your assets fairly.
There is a 20-week wait between applying for your divorce and the court issuing the Conditional Order, and then a further 6 weeks before the Final Order is made.
This is usually enough time for you to agree to financial and child arrangements through mediation so that Divorce Online can apply for a court order to make the agreements you have made legally binding along with the divorce, letting both of you move on with the rest of your lives.
Talk to one of our friendly and experienced team on Live Chat or call us to find out how we can help you.