Having worked as a family mediator for a good few years now I’m used to asking clients whether they have any knowledge or past experience of mediation. Most clients don’t have any and don’t know what to expect.
It’s like anything. If you want to buy a car you want to know what you’re buying. A top of the range sports car or a car that gets you safely round town. How do you know what’s going to be the right car for you? You probably need to test drive them.
That is why in family mediation we have an introductory meeting with clients where we explain what mediation involves. The meeting is about an hour-long – called a MIAM which simply means Mediation Intake Assessment Meeting – an opportunity for you to ask us any questions you like. If you are unsure about what to expect from mediation we will talk to you about how mediation works so by the end of the meeting you have a clearer picture. We will also ask you questions – because we want to know what’s going on for you and the issues you face, so we know how best to help you.
So is it like going to Court?
No, it isn’t like going to Court. There’s no judgment, no evaluation. It’s a meeting usually just with you, to talk through the issues that are affecting you and your family.
The mediator is there to listen to you and may ask you questions about your situation.
The meeting takes much the same format for every client, so you can feel secure in the knowledge that your ex is not being treated differently from you.
Is it like going to a solicitor’s office?
No it’s not. The meeting is at an office but the mediator is there to listen to you and to explain how mediation works. The mediator will consider all the issues you are worried about, and will start to build up a picture of what’s going on between you and your ex.
The mediator’s understanding of your situation and concerns will be crucial if you go on to mediate, enabling them to help you both work through your impasse in a collaborative and practical way, without going to Court.
How much will it cost?
At Focus we have a sliding scale of costs depending on your finances, your income and capital and we offer legal aid at some of our branches. This can mean mediation is free for you, but in any event it is usually much more affordable than fighting it out in court.
Will someone listen? Yes they will.
We are specialist mediators – it’s all we do. We know what’s important to you and we have the skills and expertise to help. We are all accredited with the Family Mediation Council.
With court costing over £400 just to issue an application, you should ask yourself if you want the stress of going in front of a judge with the added costs of a solicitor and perhaps even a barrister too. Alternatively do you want to represent yourself?
You might choose either – because there are some cases that are not suitable for mediation. However if you don’t come to the MIAM you won’t know.
No one wants to buy the wrong car – why don’t you give us a call and see if mediation is the right vehicle for you?