Access to Family Mediation - Legal Aid or Private Paying
What is mediation?
- Mediation is an easy and informal way for you to resolve a family issue be it a separation with financial issues or arrangements
for your children without the need to go to court. It is not counselling, therapy or legal advice/representation.
- The purpose of mediation is to help you and the other party find an amicable solution to your issue and help you make arrangements
for the future with the help of an independent third party, the mediator.
- It gives you the opportunity to discuss any issues that arise as a result of your separation/divorce including children,
finances, money concerns and how to separate your assets fairly.
- It can be started by your solicitor making a referral to us or by you contacting us directly.
- Mediation can encourage positive dialogue between parties, make complex points of law much clearer, give you better control
of the outcome and ease any difficulties in your relationship with the other party.
- It is confidential and the mediator will not disclose information to anyone including the parties’ legal advisors or the
court unless they have the express permission of the parties, a court order or where there is a concern for the welfare
of a child. We do however find it helpful to update your respective solicitors after each session so they know how the
mediation is progressing. If you are happy for us to do this we will ask you to sign an authority.
- The mediator will take notes during the meeting and they will be retained on file.
- Mediation is voluntary and can only take place if both parties agree to it.
What is a mediator?
A mediator is a neutral third party who is independent and impartial. The mediator’s role is to help you and the other party
define the issues, identify areas of agreement, explore the options and try to reach an agreement about them.
The mediator does not take sides, give advice or make decisions for you. The mediator’s role is to assist effective communication
between both parties.
How long does mediation take?
At the first session the mediator will explain the process of mediation and assess if your issue is suitable for mediation,
they will also answer any questions you have about the process. We recommend you and your partner have separate initial
sessions unless you wish to do otherwise.
At further sessions you and the other party will discuss the issues that need to be resolved.
There are usually between 2 – 5 sessions depending on the issues to be addressed and their complexity.
Where will it take place?
- At our Leeds office, 21-27 St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JG, and
- At our Wimbledon office, 150 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1RX.
How much does it cost?
We can offer legal aid for mediation and can assess you to ascertain if you are eligible. We also offer a fixed fee solution if you are not eligible for legal aid. The fees are usually shared between the parties.
What is the process?
View our mediation process infographic to find out more
information on the stages that you will go through.
What happens after we have reached an agreement?
The mediator will record the agreement in a document called a Memorandum of Understanding and prepare a financial summary
if appropriate. At this point you need to speak to your solicitor who will advise you if the agreement can be converted
in to a court order.
Why should I try mediation to resolve my family dispute?
- It can be quicker than court proceedings
- It can be cheaper than court proceedings
- It enables you to stay in control of the process
- It’s ‘Without prejudice’ which means the discussions during mediation cannot be used in the court process
- It may help you improve your communication with the other party and preserve a relationship for your family
- The courts like it. Parties are expected to try and resolve matters through mediation
Why should I use Simpson Millar LLP?
- Simpson Millar LLP has an expert Team of experienced Mediators to help you resolve your dispute
- We will be with you every step of the way
- We can help you reach an amicable solution
- For Individuals/clients please get in touch with us to find out more on freephone: 0808 129 3320 or complete the
enquiry form and we will get in touch with you.
- For Solicitors who would like to refer clients to us please download the
referral form and once completed please send it to us by
email, fax: 0345 357 9199 or by post to Simpson Millar LLP, 6 Park Place, Leeds, LS1 2RU
What if I have a complaint?
If you are not satisfied with the service you have received please speak to the mediator, if the mediator cannot resolve
your concerns then please ask for the details of their Professional Practice Consultancy and then the governing body.
Other useful resources
For more on how we can help you, contact Simpson Millar LLP's Family Law division
by completing our no-obligation online enquiry form or you can call us directly
on 0808 129 3320.