Using mediation to help you separate

Mediation is a way of sorting any differences between you and your ex-partner, with the help of a third person who won’t take sides. The third person is called a mediator. They can help you reach an agreement about issues with money, property or children.

You can try mediation before going to a solicitor. If you go to a solicitor first, they’ll probably talk to you about whether using mediation first could help.

You don’t have to go to mediation, but if you end up having to go to court to sort out your differences, you normally need to prove you’ve been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). This is an introductory meeting to explain what mediation is and how it might help you

**It’s better to try and reach an agreement through mediation if you can. You could save money in legal fees and it can be easier to solve any differences**

What to think about before attending mediation

Think about what you want to get out of mediation before you start. Mediation is more likely to succeed if you can spend the sessions focusing on things you really disagree on.

If you’re trying to reach an agreement about money or property, you’ll need to fill out a financial disclosure form when you go to mediation. You’ll have to include all your financial information, for example:

  • your income – for example, from work or benefits
  • what you spend on living costs – such as transport, utilities and food
  • how much money you have in bank accounts
  • debts you owe
  • property you own

Start gathering bills and bank statements together to take to the first mediation meeting. Some mediators will send you a form like this to fill in before your first appointment.

It’s important that you and your ex-partner are honest when you talk about your finances. If your ex-partner later finds out you tried to hide something from them, any agreement you make might not be valid. Your ex-partner could also take you to court for a larger share of your money.

What happens in mediation?

In the introductory meeting, you and your ex-partner will usually meet separately with a trained mediator. After this, you’ll have mediation sessions where you, your ex-partner and the mediator will sit together to discuss your differences.

You and your ex-partner can sit in different rooms if you feel unable to sit together and ask the mediator to go back and forwards between you. This kind of mediation takes longer, so it’s usually more expensive

The mediator can’t give legal advice, but they will

  • listen to both your points of view – they won’t take sides
  • help to create a calm atmosphere where you can reach an agreement you’re both happy with
  • suggest practical steps to help you agree on things

Everything you say in mediation is confidential.

If you have children, your mediator will normally focus on what’s best for them and their needs. The mediator might even talk to your children if they think it’s appropriate and you agree to it.

At the end of your mediation

Your mediator will write a ‘memorandum of understanding’ – this is a document that shows what you’ve agreed.

You’ll both get a copy.If your agreement is about money or property, you may want to take your memorandum of understanding to a solicitor and ask them to turn it into a ‘consent order’. This means you can take your ex-partner to court if they don’t stick to something you agreed.

You can apply for a consent order after you’ve started the process of getting divorced or ending your civil partnership. It needs to be approved by a judge in court.

How much mediation cost?

Mediation isn’t free, but it’s quicker and cheaper than going to court!

Cawley and Davis want to make mediation as stress free as possible, we want both parties to ultimately arrive at a resolution that they are both happy with and avoid the stresses and costs involved with going to court (the average cost of going to court is – £2,500-£10,000 depending on the complexity of your case)

We will see both parties separately for an initial consultation and discuss what they want to gain from the sessions, this will cost £75 (45 minutes each). Then moving forwards mediation sessions will involve both parties together at our office along with a representative from Cawley and Davis, these sessions cost £100 and will last for 1 hour. We will listen to what you both have to say and hopefully suggest things that will allow you to both reach an agreement that you are happy with. It may be that you require one session, it maybe that you require several. Regardless of how many sessions you need, our aim is that you reach an agreement that you are both happy with.

Once both parties are happy with what has been agreed, we will draw up a memorandum of understanding which you will both sign, this will cost £50

For more information or to book your initial assessment then please email us on info@cawleyanddavis.com