Please note: This topic is for Question and Answer threads run by Mumsnet, all are sponsored by a MN client. If you'd like to run your own Q&A, please email email@example.com.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Do you have any questions about family mediation? Ask a panel of experts here – £100 voucher prize draw!NOW CLOSED(36 Posts)
The Ministry of Justice has sponsored a panel of family mediation experts to answer any questions you may have about family mediation. The panel comprises the Minister for Family Justice, the Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP; Glynne Davies, Family Mediator for more than ten years and Robin ap Cynan who is a lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience as a Family Mediator - both are Board Members of the Family Mediation Council.
Here’s what they say, “January is the month when many people start looking for information about splitting up. If you are in that situation with your partner, or you know someone who is and you would like to find out how family mediation can help to sort out child arrangements, money and property, get involved and pose a question to our panel of experts.”
•Gives you more say about what happens. In court a judge will make the decisions. With mediation you and your ex decide.
•Works to improve your communication and helps you sort out your future.
•Is easier on your children when parents co-operate and helps them continue important family relationships.
•It can be quicker, cheaper and provides a longer lasting way to sort out family breakdown rather than drawn-out court battles.”
“1257 successful agreements were reached in family mediation in England and Wales between July and September 2014. This represents two thirds of funded family mediation cases.”
Post your questions to the panel on this thread by 12th January and we will send 20 questions over to them to respond to. We will then post a link to their responses on the thread on 19th January.
Everyone who adds a question (regardless of whether it’s answered or not) will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a John Lewis vouchers to the value of £100.
Thanks and good luck,
The removal of solicitor-lead legal aid for most family law services resulted in a huge reduction in cases being referred to mediation. Attempts to publicise mediation as an alternative have failed to have much of an impact, and to provision of legal aid to provide legal advice underpinning mediation pays at a pitiful rate. Many suppliers of family mediation have gone out of business.
What new steps can be taken, other than publicity, to ensure more cases are referred to mediation?
My question is regarding costs. Why are they so high? How can you help people who'd like to use it but can't afford to?
I doubt I'd be eligible for any help (if this is planned) I'm a 'higher earner' but my outgoings are also high so I at the time of divorce had minus numbers in the bank after housing and other bills. I couldn't sell the house and was trapped with big costs.
My divorce cost was just court costs as I self represented (money was extremely tight). He evades paying maintenance and once the CSA changes are fully in place I suspect I will get no maintenance because the costs to me will be not worth it.
I cannot imagine mediation working however I'd like to think it could have. I looked into it but costs were prohibitive and exH would only attend if I paid for him and myself. It was acrimonious and at one point police were involved to get him to leave my house (post divorce). I'd love to think that could have been avoided but finances prevented us accessing it. So what can you do to stop cost being a factor?
Mediation is not recommended in circumstances where there is domestic abuse. But many women who are abused don't have much evidence of this, because they have been too scared to go to police or because the abuse is emotional rather than physical. Will women be pressurised to undergo mediation when they have claimed there is domestic abuse where there is no corroborating evidence?
How legally enforceable are agreements reached in mediation? E.g. Ex-spouse to receive a specific sum from sale of house from resident parent after youngest child finishes high school
If the RP doesn't want to sell the matrimonial home can the ex-spouse enforce the mediation agreement?
Can you explain the process whereby both parties reach agreement, through mediation, on the financial arrangement to be put in place after the divorce? I know this is going to be the major sticking point.
What qualifications and experience mediators have?
Are there particular circumstances in which mediation is not appropriate? If so, what are these? I note that another poster mentions DV situations. Are there other situations too in which this approach would not be suitable? What would happen in those cases?
How are mediators supported/trained/qualified to accommodate people with communication, behavioural or psychological difficulties which may impact on interactions?
What happens if an agreement reached through family mediation is not stuck to? Particularly if one partner refuses to keep up their end of the deal regarding finances, contact etc?
Also, what happens if the circumstances of either party change enough to have an impact on any agreement reached?
I am shocked to hear about high costs- how much does it cost usually?
Why is mediation confidential and no records are kept?
My abusive ex became angry during mediation and was eventually asked to leave by the mediator and the session stopped.
A record of this would help support me if he ever showed up again and tried to gain access to the children. But I was told nothing could be made public so even though his behaviour was witnessed by another person there is no evidence that can back me up. It is yet another situation where victims of domestic abuse are overlooked.
Mediation is easier and less stressful than going to court! If children are involved, it’s easier for them if their parents co-operate and can help maintain important family relationships as well.
I would also like to know what kind of training the mediator goes through.
If a financial agreement is reached at mediation is it then turned into a legal agreement through a lawyer? If not, how can it be enforced if one party doesn't stick to it?
How do you find a family mediator. Is there a professional body ie RICS for surveyors?
Do mediators have to study for particular qualifications? What happens if either party ignores an agreement reached through mediation? People have mentioned high costs- what are the average costs?
Who calls it a day when mediation doesn't appear to be working? How long can these communication issues go on for? There must occur times when one party thinks it's hopeless yet is encouraged to to continue. Who decides when mediation isn't working and what is the criteria for defining this?
I would like to know why the costs are so high and what you would suggest for families that cannot afford such costs.
Are the decisions reached through mediation legally binding, as you don't go to court or is it more of a counselling arrangement whereby you are encouraged to reach an amicable agreement on matters.
What happens if one of the parties does not stick to the agreement? Can you return to mediation or would you then need to go through the courts?
Is it a legal requirement to try mediation first or is it still optional?
Can older children have a voice in the mediation process?
Is it better to go to a mediator who is also a qualified family lawyer? How can a mediator who is not a lawyer ensure that any agreement the parties come to is fair?
How much does mediation cost generally?