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Premier Family Mediation Service

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mediation?
Mediation is the process by which families can negotiate about future arrangements for children with the help of a neutral third party. The mediator does not tell parties what to do, but can help the parties to reach their own agreements amicably, whilst trying to improve communication between them.
Mediation is Voluntary
Before mediation goes ahead, both of you must agree to take part and either of you could stop the mediation process at any time. People who want to make an application to the Family Court are usually required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, or ‘MIAM’, but mediation itself is always voluntary, and no-one can be required to take part in mediation if it’s not right for them.
Mediators are Impartial
The mediator does not take sides, and is there for both of you. Mediators don’t give advice, although they may give information about the law – such as what orders a court can and cannot make – and they may offer guidance about what things you might need to consider.
Mediation is Confidential

The information that clients share with the mediator is kept confidential, with some very limited exceptions*.

Proposals put forward during mediation cannot be referred to in court proceedings. If you try mediation but it doesn’t work for you, the court will never be told why mediation wasn’t successful.
*The only exception is if we are made aware of harm or risk of harm to anyone (especially a child) or if we are given previously undisclosed information about a criminal offence: there may be a duty to disclose this to the relevant authorities.

In mediation, People Make Their Own Decisions
The mediator doesn’t make any decisions: you yourselves work out what proposals you both agree to take forward. Your proposals will only become legally binding if they are made into a court order (a ‘consent order’) or if a legally binding agreement is drawn up.
What are The Benefits of Mediation?

Mediation is recommended when parents find it hard to agree on making suitable arrangements for children after a family breakdown. There are several advantages to attending mediation, such as:

  • giving you more control over what decisions are made in relation to children, rather than applying to the courts;
  • providing a less stressful way of dealing with sensitive matters;
  • improving communication and helping you to sort out future arrangements;
  • allowing arrangements to be reviewed and changed easier, so long as they are mutually agreed by both parties; and
  • providing a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes.
Are any Agreements Made Through Mediation Legally Binding?
Any agreements made during mediation are not legally binding in the sense of being enforceable in a court. Some people do decide to get a solicitor to look over the agreement, and the agreement can be used in court at a later stage in order to create a consent order.
What is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
A Mediation Information Assessment Meeting is the first meeting which will help establish whether mediation will be suitable in your circumstances, and whether it will help you to reach an agreement.
What Will Happen at Mediation?

The mediator will try to find common ground between you. If you’re not comfortable with being in the same room as your ex-partner, the mediator can arrange ‘shuttle’ mediation. This is where the mediator speaks with you alone and then speaks to your ex-partner with your proposals separately. It might take more than one session to reach an agreement.

Upon an agreement being reached between you and your ex-partner, a “memorandum of understanding” will be created by the mediator so everyone understands what has been agreed.

Do I have to go to Mediation?

From April 2014, anyone applying to the courts for assistance in resolving disputes about children or finances will be required to attend a meeting Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. This includes any applications for:

You will not need to attend mediation for the above applications if you are applying for a consent order, or if there are ongoing emergency proceedings, care proceedings or supervision proceedings for a child or there is an Emergency Protection Order, Care Order or Supervision Order in place.

You can also be exempt from having to attend a MIAM, if you fulfil one of the exceptions outlined in section 13 of the C100 application form, which can be downloaded from www.justice.gov.uk. A few of the main exceptions include:

  • where there has been any form of domestic violence between you and your ex-partner and it has been reported to the police, courts, health professionals or specialised agency;
  • where the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan or a section 47 enquiry;
  • where the situation is a matter of urgency, i.e. a risk of harm to the child’s safety;
  • where mediation has been attempted within the last four months; or
  • where the person seeking to make the application does not have sufficient contact details of the other person to which the application relates.

From April 2014, it is compulsory to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting before making an application for court.

What Can I Expect From my Mediator?

A family mediator must act impartially and avoid any conflict of interest. This means that a mediator must not mediate on a dispute where they have acquired relevant information about the parties. Furthermore, a mediator must remain neutral on the outcome of the mediation. They must not seek to enforce their preferred outcome or influence on any of the parties.

You must also expect the mediator to keep confidential all details obtained during the course of mediation. The mediator cannot even disclose information to the court, without the consent of both participants. The mediators may only disclose information where there are serious allegations of harm to a child or adult.

Mediation is a voluntary process and any session for mediation can be suspended or terminated, if it is felt that the parties are unwilling to fully take part in the process. Mediators must also encourage the participants to consider the wishes and feelings of the children.

How Long Can Mediation Take?
Mediation can continue while it meets the needs of the individual parties involved. The initial meeting lasts approximately 45 minutes. Full mediation sessions will usually last between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the complexity of the situation.
What if We Cannot Reach An Agreement Through Mediation?
If you cannot reach an agreement with the other participant, or mediation fails for any other reason, for example the other party will not attend or the mediator feels that mediation is unworkable; you may proceed with your dispute to the courts. You must ensure that the mediator signs and certifies your application form.

Contact Us Today

Phone: 07871764411
Email: info@premierfamilymediation.com
Locations Covered: Central London Notting Hill Gate, Ealing Broadway, Southall, Greenford and Greater London