• Laceys have the answers to all your questions about mediation

    Mediation step by step

    We explain the process right from the beginning

    In this section we will take you through the mediation process from start to finish and answer some of the questions we are frequently asked when clients first contact us. Of course other topics may be important to you, and we welcome your questions and queries. Feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail.

    Important things we’re often asked about mediation...

  • What is the goal of family mediation?

    Family mediation gives you an opportunity, as a couple, to work out the terms of your separation or divorce. The mediation process provides a humane and effective alternative to litigation. If you have children the mediation will focus on three key sets of issues: a parenting plan, division of property and other assets and financial support. If you do not have children the mediation generally will focus on financial issues: division of property and financial support. Once agreement has been reached, we prepare a Mediation Summary to enable each party to take final legal advice before committing themselves to a final binding agreement.

    What does the mediation process look like?

    Family mediation begins with a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The assessment meeting can be a joint or separate meeting. In this meeting we will:

    1. Assess whether either or both parties are eligible for public funding (legal aid) and if not explain the costs of the mediation process
    2. Explain how the mediation process works
    3. Establish whether there are any domestic violence issues or risks to children which might make the case unsuitable for mediation
    4. Provide details of other dispute resolution alternatives available
    5. Establish whether both parties are willing to mediate

    For further information go to The Referral Process

    If you decide to go forward with mediation we will schedule the first session. We will ask you to bring to the first session your signed Agreement to Mediate, which we will send you in advance

    We start out by reading our ground rules to ensure a level playing field for both parties in the mediation process

    Ground Rules

    Ground Rules-Shuttle Mediation

    Where financial issues are involved we will hand out financial disclosure and budgeting forms at the assessment meeting, along with a check -list of documents that you will need to provide. Please bring as much of this information as you can to the first session. We will assist you in gathering any outstanding information

    Financial Disclosure Form

    Budgeting Form

    Mediation sessions generally last 90 minutes. We will set a natural conversational tone for each session and act as your guide, as we work through the issues in a thoughtful and structured sequence.

    At the beginning of each subsequent session we will review the prior session with you, noting what was decided and what remains to be done. We will review the homework tasks from the previous session and begin discussing with you the issues on your agenda. In particular we will address any pressing issues that have come up since the last session. At the end of each session we will discuss with you the agenda and set the homework for the next session.

    We will meet with you until the issues are resolved. On average our clients need three mediation sessions to resolve their issues and reach a settlement.

    Go to The Referral Process section for more details

    What is the mediator’s role? Do I need a solicitor?

    As a neutral the mediator does not give advice, does not take sides, and does not tell the parties what to do. The mediator will provide you both with legal information. You are not obligated, but we encourage you to seek independent legal advice on any specific legal points as needed before, during and after the mediation process

    Your mediator will provide information and suggest options for you to consider. Often we tell you common ways in which people have handled similar situations. We help you explore creative solutions.

    We provide an environment of attentive listening and good thinking. We will make sure each of you has a chance to be fully heard without interruptions. In difficult situations we will set boundaries and encourage respectful behaviour. Unlike litigation, in mediation many people learn to communicate more effectively, which can be useful in the future, particularly where the parties have children

    Once you have reached agreement your mediator will prepare a final summary, which will only be binding once you have obtained final legal advice

    But remember, in mediation the decisions are yours. The mediator will not impose any decision upon you

    What if I can’t stand being in the same room as my partner?

    Mediation isn’t just for people who get along reasonably well. Mediation can be successful in both high-conflict and low-conflict cases. Indeed it is the high conflict cases where mediation, as an alternative to litigation, can save the most time, money and emotional turmoil.

    At Laceys Mediation we enjoy the challenge of difficult cases. Many are difficult only on the surface. Underneath the parties invariably have the same or similar goals and with mediation putting the focus on solutions rather than confrontation, solutions can often be worked out amicably and more quickly than through litigation

    In some instances where two people cannot or are unable to sit in a room together, we will meet with each party separately in different rooms

    How much does mediation cost? How long does it take?

    Before the mediation process begins we will assess whether one or both parties is eligible for public funding (legal aid). Please see our charges section for more details.

    If you are paying for mediation the expense and time needed to complete the mediation process depends on two key factors: the inherent complexity of the issues and the level of co-operation and communication between the parties. When couples can exchange information and effectively discuss settlement options, the mediation process can move rapidly. On average our mediations take three sessions. That’s a total cost of £450 - £495 plus VAT, ten times cheaper than the cost of a contested case, which can run into thousands of pounds with no certainty of the outcome, as a judge will make the ultimate decision

    We are aware that separation and divorce can be a time of financial hardship for a lot of families because the income that used to support one household now has to support two households. With that in mind we use a structured mediation process that is designed to be efficient. Therefore we provide encouragement and specific guidance so that clients can do as much work as possible on their own. Our goal is to complete the mediation in a manner that produces a mutually satisfactory settlement, without incurring substantial fees

    It can be very helpful to remember that mediation is an alternative to the more costly route of solicitor negotiations or litigation.

    What is the role of my solicitor in the mediation process?

    We do recommend to all our clients that each obtain separate legal advice to review agreements reached in principle at the end of the mediation process. We will prepare a Mediation Summary, which will contain both parties' financial disclosure to enable them to obtain detailed legal advice before any binding agreement, or court order is drafted.

    Do not worry if you are not represented when mediation commences, as our highly qualified lawyer mediators can provide all necessary legal information. However, we don’t give specific legal advice. If at any point in the mediation process we consider that you would benefit from independent legal advice on any particular issue, we will suggest that you instruct a solicitor. We have a very good relationship with all the local solicitors, and we can provide you with a list of solicitors local to you who are supportive of the mediation process.