Relate logo

FAQs

Where can I get Legal advice either during or after mediation from a local solicitor?

How many sessions will we need?

What other support can you offer me?

What is your cancellation policy?

Is mediation suitable for me?

What qualifications do your mediators hold?

How long are my court forms valid?

Who will my Mediator be and will we see them every time?

Is the mediation agreement legally binding?

Is mediation the same as arbitration?

What is Legal Aid (Public Funding)

How do I know if I qualify for Legal Aid (public funding) ?

How do I make an Appointment?

What are the benefits of Mediation?

What is Family Mediation?

What does it Cost?

Are you a solicitor?

What happens in Mediation?

Must I have a solicitor?

Is Mediation Confidential?

What if I'm worried about my Safety?

 

Where can I get Legal advice either during or after mediation from a local solicitor?

When booking your appointment for one our services, please ask one of our admin team about solicitors as they can usually provide you with details of local solicitors.

 

How many sessions will we need?

The number of sessions required really depend on the complexity of the case. However, you would normally expect two sessions for "childrens issues" , three to four sessions for "Property and Finance" issues and if your dealing with all of the above, which we call "All Issues" then we can be looking at five sessions.

It is imperative when making difficult decisions that you ensure adequate time is given to ensure that all areas are covered and nothing has been missed.

It is really important that you are both entirely happy with the contents, arrangements and details supplied as we are unable to accept requests for changes once you have left the office. After your sessions have ended if either of you decide youwant to change your documents then you will need to book another appointment and both parties will need to attend thus increasing your costs.

We have to remain impartial and we cannot accept phone calls or emails from either party asking for changes. This then ensures all parties are in agreement.

 

What other support can you offer me?

We understand that this is an emotional time for all involved and will endeavour to assist you in resolving your issues as quickly as possible.

We are able to offer our counselling services in addition to mediation support to help you through this difficult time. You will be seen by highly experienced and qualified counsellors who specialise in relationship issues. If you would like to discuss this option then please contact our colleagues at Relate South Essex on 01702 342901 to book an appointment.

We have a Facebook page that is regularly updated https://www.facebook.com/relatesouthessex and we tweet regularly on twitter https://twitter@relatese

 

What is your cancellation policy?

If you are unable to attend your mediation session we require at least three working days' notice. We are unable to give your appointment to someone else. Therefore, our costs have already been incurred and they need to be paid for. This means the fee will still be payable if the appointment is unattended and we have not received the required three working days' notice of cancellation.

We are a charity and we are unable to absorb the cost of missed appointments. Thank you.

 

Is mediation suitable for me?

During your initial assessment (MIAM) one of our experienced Mediators will discuss the options available to you. They are professionally obligated to inform you if they do not think that mediation is suitable and they can suggest alternative solutions. Mediation has proven to be successful in over 80% of cases and that is why it is now part of the judicial process for dispute resolution but it does not work for all and whilst we make no promises, we will advise you if we do not think this is the right service for you.

You must be certain that your relationship has broken down before you attend mediation. You must genuinely want to resolve the dispute.

It is available to any person who has been affected by a separation or a divorce. This also applies to extended members of a family including grandparents.


 

What qualifications do your mediators hold?

Our team of experienced and qualified Mediators are all trained to the highest professional standards. They are all Family Mediation Accredited and are members of the College of Mediators or National Family Mediation. Their work is supervised by a Professional Practice Consultant with many years experience and an excellent track record in this field. To ensure they retain their skills and update their knowledge they are required to attend relevant training courses and keep abreast of current legislative changes. To ensure your safety all have been security checked. All the team have to comply with Relate policies and procedures and their work is closely monitored to ensure the highest standards.

Therefore you can be rest assured you are working with a highly experienced, well qualified Mediator.

 

How long are my court forms valid?

If you wish to make an application to the court you will need to have explored mediation as an option. To demonstrate your willingness to do this, you will require a Mediator to sign the appropriate Court Form to confirm your attendance. Please note these forms are only valid for four months from date of issue. Applications after this date will require a new assessment meeting and form.

 

Who will my Mediator be and will we see them every time?

You will be assigned a Mediator for your initial Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. If mediation is confirmed as suitable you will be invited to attend mediation meetings and we will then endeavour to ensure you see the same Mediator through the mediation process.

 

Is the mediation agreement legally binding?

No, however, the paperwork prepared by the mediator once mediation is complete can be given to your solicitor to be incorporated into a legally binding agreement. Thus saving considerable time and expense.

 

Is mediation the same as arbitration?

No, in arbitration the final decision and verdict are decided by the arbitrator.

Mediation allows the parties to work out the best solution for them.

 

What is Legal Aid (Public Funding)

When it comes to resolving family issues and disputes one of the main considerations the parties involved have to take into account is the financial restraints imposed by legal fees. Although mediation has been highlighted as a low-cost alternative to the court system, financial considerations do still exist, which is where legal aid comes in.

Legal aid is a government-backed initiative that provides financial support to help cover the costs of family mediation, and in some cases where the client is eligible mediation costs are completely free.

With recent reforms to the legal system reducing the level of legal aid support available in divorce and child custody disputes, mediation is often the only avenue available that still offers financial support via legal aid.

SEFMS is proud to have been awarded legal aid status for our mediation services. As a registered charity it allows us to best represent our clients with no financially motivated interests, offering affordable and flexible fees with our legal aid contract also reflecting our high standards of mediation and professionalism.

 

How do I know if I qualify for Legal Aid (public funding) ?

If you're considering mediation as a way of resolving a family dispute and believe you may be entitled to legal aid, please call us for more information so we can proceed in arranging an initial MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting).

This initial meeting is a great way of outlining the best method of moving forward to resolving your conflict, and during this session your Mediator can also carry out an assessment to see if you additionally qualify for legal aid.

If eligible your mediation fees could be then be reduced or possibly even completely free, so contact us today to see how we can help resolve your issue.

 

How do I make an Appointment?

Contact us by phone, email, or post, or via our contact us page on this site.

Going through divorce or separation can be very stressful and it can often be difficult to make rational decisions when emotions are running high.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you want to find out if mediation is right for you as we will always be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
If you are put through to our answer phone this means our staff are busy with other callers, so please leave a message and they will return your call as soon as they can.
We are also able to offer you a face to face meeting with a professionally trained and qualified family counsellor or relationship counsellor to help you decide the best way forward for you. Sometimes clients may require a different service to mediation and as we are part of Relate South Essex we are able to offer other services which may help you.

Tel: 01268 286577/ 01268 270479

E-mail: enquiries.mediationse@gmail.com

4 Cherrydown West, Basildon, Essex. SS16 5AT and we also offer appointments at 29 Harcourt Ave, Southend on Sea, SS6 5AT.

Contact hours: Monday - Thursday 9 till 6 and Friday 9 till 4 on 01268 286577

Please telephone to discuss a suitable appointment time, we can offer day, evening and Saturday morning appointments subject to availability.

PAYMENT

We operate a Pre payment system and will request your credit/debit card details when booking your initial appointment.

All major credit and debit cards are accepted.

Please contact us if you require further information.

CANCELLATION POLICY

As a charity we rely on your contributions to continue with the service, if you cannot attend please try to give us as much notice as possible so we can offer the place to another client. It is extremely difficult to find clients able to slot into your allocated session, so please try to attend.

In event of cancellation without 3 working days notice the following admin fee will be charged:

£50 +VAT .

If 2 appointments are cancelled, even with the above notice, we will be unable to offer another appointment.

In the case of non-attendance without notification, no further sessions will be offered.

As a charity all our costs are already incurred when an appointment is missed and we are not able to offer your appointment to anyone else. We are unable to absorb these costs. Thank you.

 

What are the benefits of Mediation?

  • Mediation is faster and avoids costly legal battles.
  • You have an opportunity to talk face to face, openly and constructively with your ex-partner in a safe environment.
  • Mediation focuses on moving forward and reaching agreement. It does not focus on the past or assign blame.
  • You make all the decisions yourself in a setting where cooperation rather than conflict is encouraged.
  • You can discuss all details of any issues that are important to you.
  • Mediation is flexible and allows for creative solutions that meet your families' needs in order to help you reach an agreement.
  • Where children are involved, mediation promotes family communication and establishes a sound foundation for continued good parenting.

 

What is Family Mediation?

  • Family mediation is a way for couples who are divorcing or separating to make their own decisions for the future, with the help of an experienced and impartial mediator. It is a non legal way of settling disputes. The mediator acts as an impartial third party anf facilitates discussion between you enabling you to reach suitable and mutually acceptable agreements.
  • If you decide to leave it in the hands of a Judge they can make a decision that neither of you are happy with. This gives you back control over your own future.
  • You can talk about arrangements for children and/or property and financial matters.
  • The aim of mediation is to make a written agreement describing the arrangements you have decided on.
  • Mediation is not counselling, nor an attempt to bring about reconciliation.
  • We aim to provide affordable accessible mediation when your facing conflict.

 

What does it Cost?

It may cost you nothing. We can assess you to see if you qualify for Public Funding. If you are eligible your mediation will be free.

If you are not eligible, but your ex-partner is, you will still be partially funded. The costs of your MIAM (initial assessment) will be met by the Legal Aid Agency.

If you are not eligible for Public Funding we charge a reasonable fee according to your income and is significantly cheaper then legal costs. We ensure these are discussed with you and agreed before mediation commences, to ensure there are no nasty surprises. Refer to our costs under the Contact Page.

What will you base your assessment on?
In order for us to perform an assessment to see if you qualify for public funding please bring the following to your first appointment which is called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM):

  • National Insurance Number
  • Confirmation letter of Benefit entitlement and tax credits award. (confirmation of JSA may be obtained by calling 0545 6088575)
  • Your last 4 weeks pay slips or most recent pay slip, if paid monthly
  • A bank statement showing your income and outgoings for the past four weeks, the statement must show your name and address.
  • If self-employed, last years certified accounts
  • If you live with a new partner we need evidence of their income and assets

Assessment for Public funding requires evidence of ALL income. Is is essential the above details are supplied in FULL, if details are missing you will be charged for the session and will need to book and pay for an additional appointment to finish the assessment for funding.

If you are eligible for Public funding mediation is FREE as is any signature on any court application form, which is required before proceedings can commence.

If you are not eligible for public funding the fee per person for the MIAM charge is £70.00 plus VAT (currently 20%). Total £84.00. In addition we need to make a charge of £25.00 plus VAT total £30.00 for a mediator signature on any court application form, which is required before proceedings can commence.

Please contact us on 01268 286577/ 01268 270479. If it is really urgent and you have been unable to contact the team on these numbers then please try 01702 342901 explaining what has happened and our team at Southend will try and assist.

Cancellation policy

If you are unable to attend your mediation session we require at least three working days' notice. We are unable to give your appointment to someone else. Therefore, our costs have already been incurred and they need to be paid for. This means the fee will still be payable if the appointment is unattended and we have not received the required three working days' notice of cancellation. We are a charity and are not funded elsewhere so rely on client attendance. Thank you.

 

Are you a solicitor?

Mediators cannot offer Legal Advice. When clients reach agreement on issues around Children, Property and Financial issues we will type up the agreement reached and this can be taken to a solicitor and be made into a Legally binding Consent Order.

See "Must I have a Solicitor" section under FAQS for further information.

 

What happens in Mediation?

  • First, the mediator meets you and your ex-partner, (separately or together) at an assessment meeting to explain the process of mediation and to check that it is suitable for you.
  • The mediator will also discuss with you what you hope to achieve and answer any questions that you may have about the process,
  • If mediation is agreed as the way forward a mediation meeting is booked.
  • Then the mediator will help you settle issues and reach agreement in ways that will best meet the needs of children as well as parents.
  • The mediator will then prepare a written agreement recording the decisions that you have made together.
  • You have the opportunity to see a solicitor for legal advice before committing yourself to a legal agreement or court order.
  • The number of meetings will depend on the complexity of the issues. If you were discussing children only, you would normally need one or two sessions. Where property and finance is involved up to five can be needed.

 

Must I have a solicitor?

The answer to this is no, you can mediate without legal representation saving you time and money. Mediators can provide general information about family law and the way the legal system works. However, we cannot provide legal advice therefore we recommend that you seek legal advice from a solicitor. We can give you details of local solicitors. Some solicitors offer limited funding for "help with mediation" costs.

Mediation is not a legal process, it is completely confidential and anything that is discussed in mediation is done so with legal prejudice. This means it cannot be later used in court.

At the end of mediation a Mediator can produce a document which can be turned into a Consent order by a solicitor and can become a legally binding document.

 

Is Mediation Confidential?

Discussions are confidential; the only exception would be if there are any safety concerns for family members, in particular for children.

What you say in mediation cannot be used in court. However the factual information that you provide, such as details of your income, property and so on may be used in court.

 

What if I'm worried about my Safety?

If you are worried about your own or the safety of a child, or have experienced violence or intimidation in the relationship, please discuss this with the mediator at your first appointment. Even if you are coming along together for a session we spend some time alone with each of you so you can raise any concerns directly with the mediator.

 

 

back to top

 

Mediation is about making positive agreements so that you can move on with your life.

"Our mediator did a tremendous job and acted impartially. You all do a great job"

"My husband and I were at total gridlock. We were able to use the experience of mediation to come to an agreement - wonderful"

© South Essex Family Mediation                                   By continuing to use this site you agree to our privacy and cookies policy

Website built by wow! creative