Mediation is a safe place to start.
The ending of an intimate relationship will be as overwhelming as the death of a loved one for many. It’s fraught with financial uncertainty, and real worries about the children. It’s not easy to sort things out calmly and co-operatively when the legal system seems to want you to behave like enemies.
By talking things over first with one of our accredited family mediators (who are also non-practising solcitors) you will be giving yourself the best opportuntity to achieve a positive outcome.
Things to decide.
- Are you going to separate informally?
- What are the judicial separatrion, divorce, or civil partnership dissolution options?
- If you want a formal process, who is going to start it?
- When should it start?
- How will you deal with the costs involved?
- What paperwork needs completing?
- How do you tell the childen?
- Is this something you can do mostly yourselves or do you need some help?
Imagine how you would feel if you could achieve deal with these early steps in ways which wouldn’t create a battle, and then make it impossible for you to have constructive discussions about the children or money?
Now stop imagining – a less damaging, more amicable, less expensive, quicker and better outcome is what you and your family can achieve if you choose to start mediating.
Should you go to a lawyer first?
Some go to lawyers to start the divorce court process, and then come to mediation to discuss finances and children. After, they return to their lawyers who will draft the court paperwork.
What we often see as mediators are divorces which were started in ways which were certain to increase the conflict between the parties, rather than stabilise or reduce it. This increased conflict inevitably spills over into the financial discussions and the parenting arrangements. The overall effect is to turn what was essentially a problem into a full-blown dispute.
Those who start with mediation before going to lawyers are more likely to make swifter progress because of their greater cooperation. This is something they and their families will come to value not just at the time, but long into their futures too.
Why you need a MIAM.
If you want to make a family court application, chances are you'll need a MIAM certificate to show that you've met with a mediator. MIAM is short for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. MIAMs can only be conducted by specially accredited family mediators.
Maybe you want a MIAM but can't find a local mediator who can meet with you soon enough. Or you can't afford to take time off from work to visit a mediator. Well, you can meet with us over Skype video. All you'll need is a computer, tablet or smartphone with a webcam, a reliable Internet connection and somewhere private to take our video call.
We were the first mediators to offer an online MIAM service in 2012. It's understandable that we've gained a certain amount of expertise in understanding how to set up online consultations, as well as experience in delivering them.
How to get started
You are welcome to call us for a confidential chat. Or to speed things up, you can fill in our confidential online form (or download a form in PDF format to fill in by pen if you prefer). Your online form will provide important information about you and your problem or dispute. Once we have it, we'll get in touch with you to arrange your online appointment. We'll send you instructions explaining how to prepare.
What happens at a MIAM?
At your appointment time, you'll need to be in front of your computer or mobile device. One of our mediators (who will also be a non-practising solicitor) will video call you. We'll provide legal information and guidance about court and your other potential options. We'll help you understand how these work, how long they take and how much they cost. If you decide you don't want to mediate, we'll send you a MIAM certificate to enable you to go to court.
How much does it cost?
Each private confidential consultation costs £120. There's no VAT and no hidden extras. So it includes any initial confidential phone chat you might have with one of our accredited mediators, your online appointment with an accredited mediator and any follow up letters, emails and phone calls with you (and the other person). And of course it includes your MIAM court certificate should you want one.
What happens next?
If you decide you would like to try mediation, we'll offer to get in touch with the other person, inviting them to a similar meeting. Mediation can only start if both of you are willing to mediate. If you decide you don't want to mediate, we'll send you a MIAM certificate immediately by email to enable you to make a court application.