You come to an assessment meeting to find out exactly how mediation works and explain your situation to the mediator. You can either come together or have separate assessments. Once mediation starts you will normally be in the same room with the mediator, unless shuttle mediation in separate rooms is needed. Not all mediators are able to offer legal aid, but we can grant legal aid to people who qualify at Focus Mediation. Even if you don’t qualify for legal aid, mediation is still much cheaper than using court or family lawyer based resolution methods, as you share the cost of a much shorter process.Normally mediation takes place over a series of one to five sessions of an hour and a half, spread out over a few weeks or months.
Your impartial mediator will give you legal information relevant to your situation, which is why we only use lawyer mediators for financial cases at Focus, as this ensures you understand the legal framework relevant to your discussions. Mediation does require you to be committed to sorting things out, as you have to give full frank financial disclosure and documents, just as you would at court and you have to work at it. Only once the full picture is understood can you talk about options for settlement. The mediator drafts a joint Open Financial Summary for you, and at the end, a Privileged Memorandum of Understanding – which lawyers can make binding at far less cost if needed, as most of the work has been completed at shared cost in mediation. The mediation costs are normally a fraction of legal costs of court based or conventional dispute resolution processes and are nothing if you are eligible for legal aid.