As of yesterday, separated parents will need to show that they have considered mediation before going to court to make arrangements for children.
From the 22nd April 2014, before you can make an application to court, you will need to show that you have considered mediation by going to a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
What is mediation anyway?
First of all, let’s remind ourselves about what mediation isn’t. Mediation is not about trying to get you back together. It’s about helping you sort out a range of family problems after you have decided to separate. It can also help when you have already separated and need to sort out new issues that crop up.
Mediation is a process that involves an independent third person, who will help you reach agreement with your child’s other parent. It could even help sort things out with other family members – for example, making sure that the children spend time with their grandparents.
What about the costs of mediation?
The cost of mediation differs depending on how many sessions you need. But, the good news is, you may be able to get legal aid for family mediation.
And, if you are eligible for legal aid for family mediation, you will also qualify for some legal support once you start the process (as long as your circumstances don’t change in the meantime).
If you can’t attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting
If mediation is not suitable for your situation – for example, if there are domestic abuse issues – you will need to provide the court with a completed FM1 form to show that you have considered it. A mediator can complete the form or you can do it yourself.
Still not sure if mediation is for you? Come back tomorrow to hear a real-life story of someone who made mediation work for them.