The divorce process is often a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. Divorce mediation can offer an alternative solution to proceed with your case without the associated stress of attending court. It can help you reach an agreement by working with a neutral third party who will act as a mediator between you and your former spouse.
What is family or divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a way of sorting out family matters without going to court. It allows you and your ex-partner to talk about your issues in a supportive, non-judgmental and confidential environment whilst trying to reach an agreement with the help of an impartial mediator.
This agreement or 'memorandum of understanding' will be shared with both partners and may be used to apply for a consent order. A mediator will help you reach this agreement by talking to both partners about a number of items, including child arrangements, financial matters or property.
Who is eligible for divorce mediation?
Anyone who has been married or in a civil partnership and is separating from their former spouse or ex-partner can use mediation to sort out financial and property arrangements.
What if we cannot agree through family mediation?
If you cannot reach an agreement with your ex-partner through family mediation, you should consult with a specialist divorce solicitor who will review your case and discuss alternative options.
Call Garratts’ expert divorce solicitors on 0161 665 3502 for a free consultation, or request a callback, and we will be in touch with you shortly.
How much does divorce mediation cost in 2023?
Divorce mediation costs generally have to be covered by both partners, with charging tending to be lower than if you were going to court. If you or your ex-partner cannot afford the cost of divorce mediation due to a low income, you may be eligible for Legal Aid for which you can apply for through the Government website.
If the mediation meetings discuss child arrangements, you may be able to apply for free vouchers via the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme.
What is the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme?
Set up by the Government to encourage families to use mediation services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme supports families seeking arrangements agreed upon through mediation with vouchers worth up to £500. Only authorised mediators can participate in this scheme (Gov.uk).
What do I need to prepare before I go into mediation in divorce?
Before entering divorce mediation, both partners should consider their goals for future arrangements and collate their financial documents including;
- proof of income
- owned property
- living costs,
- bank statements
- investments and pensions
- and any debts.
You will be required to fill in a financial disclosure form before your first meeting with the mediator and your ex-partner.
What is the process involved in family mediation?
Initially, you and your ex-partner will meet with the mediator individually for an introductory meeting. This will be followed by several mediation sessions during which all three of you will be present. If children are involved, the mediator may seek to speak to them with your and your ex-partner’s consent.
Should you reach a memorandum of understanding at the end of your mediation sessions, you will each receive a copy of the document created by the mediator. You may wish to instruct your family solicitor to use this document as a basis for a court order. Speak to our family law team on 0161 665 3502 today if you wish to investigate this option.
Am I legally required to go to mediation when divorcing?
No, participating in mediation is a voluntary process in England and Wales that you and your ex-partner can agree to or decline. A referral to Mediation is however required before any court proceedings are issued for a financial order or order relating to children however exemptions may apply in certain circumstances.