Relate logo

FAQs

I have been hearing on the news that Legal Aid has been with drawn for people wishing to divorce.

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?

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?

Do I need a Solicitor?

Is Mediation Confidential?

What if I'm worried about my Safety?

Can I attend a Separated Parenting Information Programme?

 

I have been hearing on the news that Legal Aid has been with drawn for people wishing to divorce.

The law changed on April 1st 2013.

Some solicitors will be able to offer limited legal aid for legal advice either during or after mediation.

See FAQs section " Will I need a solicitor"

LEGAL AID FOR MEDIATION

Legal aid for Family mediation will continue to be available to assist clients to resolve their family dispute. Legal aid will continue to cover the costs of Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAM) where at least one party is eligible and will cover the costs of mediation for any eligible client. (eligibility can be assessed at this meeting).

 

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 local solicitors as they can 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. 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. If you would like to discuss this option then please contact our colleagues at Relate South Essex on 01702 342901 to book an appointment.

 

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.

 

How do I make an Appointment?

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

  • 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 mediator 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.

 

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.
  • 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.

 

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. 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.We need to make a charge of £20.00 plus VAT total £24.00 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.

 

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 "Do I need a Solicitor" section for further information.

 

What happens in Mediation?

  • First, the mediator meets you and your ex-partner, (separately or together), 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,
  • 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.

 

Do I need a Solicitor?

  • Mediators can provide general information about family law and the way the legal system works, we cannot provide legal advice.
  • We recommend that you seek legal advice from a solicitor.

Some solicitors offer limited funding for "help with mediation" costs. You may want to seek legal advice during or after mediation.

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.

 

Can I attend a Separated Parenting Information Programme?

Most people agree that parental conflict is not good for children, however you may feel that there is very little that you can do about it. However there is help available to you. Many parents feel like this before they attend the programme but after attending they are pleased with the outcome having found it to be really interesting and worthwhile. It is not the same as a standard parenting course. It is designed to help you to increase your knowledge about the impact of separation or divorce on children. Ideas will be offered to help you reduce conflict and to improve communication. It can also be used as a preparation for mediation.

Q Who is it for?
A The programme is for family members who are in conflict over child contact who are looking to resolve the issue. Further information can be found under the heading "Parents".

Q I have been told that I have to attend a Separated Parents Information Programme, what does this mean?
A You may have been directed to attend by the court as they have decided that it is in the best interests of children that parents/family memebers are given advice and support about how to reduce the impact of conflict on children. You will find the programme will give you ideas how to reduce conflict and improve communication.

 

 

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