FAQs answered by Hampshire's Swain & Co Family Mediation Service
Q: Who is family mediation for?
A: Family mediation is for anyone who wishes to resolve family disputes, financial and/or children issues.
This can be heterosexual couples who are married or cohabiting; same sex couples who are in a civil partnership or cohabiting; Grandparents that are having difficulty with contact with their grandchildren; or other family members.
Q: Do I still need a solicitor?
A: Family mediators do not give legal advice and will explain the advantages of seeking independent legal advice.
Family mediation in itself is not legally binding. But, the Memorandum of Understanding created at the end of the family mediation process can be used by a solicitor to prepare legally binding documents, such as a Consent Order in conjunction with divorce proceedings or a Deed of Separation.
Q: How long will the family mediation take?
A: This entirely depends on speed of which issues are resolved, but most children and financial issues are resolved within 5-6 sessions.
Q: What if I cannot afford the mediation fees?
A: If you are eligible and your income is under a certain amount we can provide legal aid for family mediation.
Q: Can I have the first meeting on a one to one basis with the mediator?
Q: I would like to use family mediation but don’t want to be in a room with my ex-partner
A: In certain situations, we can offer ‘shuttle mediation’, where the mediator will see both you and your partner in separate rooms and you will not have contact with one another. Communication is done directly through the mediator.
Q: Can I bring a friend, a relative or a new partner to my meeting?
A: Only if the meeting is an individual one.
Q: What happens if we can’t agree?
A: You can still go to court.
The majority of the information that is compiled at the mediation meetings would be needed by solicitors acting on your’s and your partners behalf.
So, if you cannot agree, the mediation process is not wasted.