The Mediation Process
The Family Mediation Process
Below is the family mediation process from the intial referral stage through to an agreement being reached in family mediation.
A referral is made to Kent Family Mediation Services by one of the opposing parties. A referral for family mediation can be made by either the person who wants to attend family mediation, a Family Solicitor, a Family Support Worker, a Social Worker, or another organisation e.g. Relate or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
2. A member of Kent Family Mediation Service staff contacts both parties to:-
- Establish that each person is willing to attend a MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting)
- Ask them both to send in their up to date proof of Income documentation to determine whether they are eligible for Legal Aid which will entitle them to free mediation. If they are living with a new partner, then their income and capital assets will also need to be assessed in any claim for Legal Aid. Therefore, proof of the new partner’s income and capital assets will also need to be seen.
No family mediation appointment can be made with Kent Family Mediation Service until proof of income has been sent in and eligibility to claim Legal Aid has been confirmed, or if not eligible, payment has been received.
- A further telephone call is made to each mediation client to advise on eligibility for Legal Aid and to book an appointment at the nearest Kent Family Mediation Service venue, to see one of the services Legal Aid Accredited Family Mediators at a MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting).
- Family mediation clients who wish to pay privately, or who are found not to be eligible for Legal Aid are requested to make payment to Kent Family Mediation Service prior to the family mediation meeting taking place. Please see our Private fees and Legally Aided Mediation page.
3. MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) with Kent Family Mediation Service
- Family mediation clients are individually screened for domestic violence
- The case is assessed for suitability for family mediation.
- Kent Family Mediators check each family mediation client’s up to date proof of income(and that of any new partner they may be living with) which is brought to the meeting and go through their eligibility for Legal Aid. This will be double checked once the paperwork is returned to the office and if one client is found to be eligible, then the other mediation client will be entitled to a refund of their MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting) fee or this may be carried forward to pay for their second Mediation Meeting if they wish to proceed with family mediation. The first mediation meeting will also be free to the private paying client.
- Family mediation clients are given an explanation of the family mediation costs, the family mediation process and the Kent Family Mediation Service Code of Practice.
- If mediation clients wish to continue with family mediation, they both sign an Agreement to Mediate.
- The MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting) may then proceed straight into a first family mediation meeting, or the family mediation meeting may be booked to take place at a later time.
4. Joint First Family Mediation Meeting (up to 2 hours)
- Discussions take place between the Family Mediator and both family mediation clients.
- Issues for family mediation are established.
- In child only cases’ Tasks are set. This could be to provide more information in a financial case or for both clients to trial an agreed, temporary pattern of child contact.
- In some cases (depending on the type of circumstances, how well each family mediation client has prepared for the mediation meeting and how they have communicated in the mediation meeting) an agreement may be reached at the first mediation meeting.
5. Further Joint Family Mediation Meetings (up to 2 hours)
- Required disclosure documents must be produced before a further meeting can be arranged’Further discussions and then negotiations take place.
- Future financial needs are considered.
- Goals are established.
- Consideration is given to different options which may enable the resolution of the dispute.
- Family mediation meetings continue until a proposal has been reached that is acceptable to both family mediation clients.
- The number of family mediation meetings in the family mediation process may vary depending on the complexity of the mediation case. The average number of family mediation sessions needed is between 2 and 3.
6. Agreements made in family mediation: agreements reached in family mediation
- For finance and property and all issues family mediation, a draft Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn up by the Family Mediator for both family mediation clients to sign, after which a Final Memorandum of Understanding will be produced.
- If family mediation clients wish, this is then given to their Family Solicitor or Divorce Solicitor, so that they can seek independent legal advice.
- This document can be passed to a nominated Family Solicitor, who will draw up a Consent Order and have this Consent Order endorsed by the Family Court, which will make it legally binding. The Family Solicitor's work will be free for those who are eligible for Legal Aid.
- In cases of Child Only Family Mediation issues, a Statement of Outcome will be drawn up instead of a Memorandum of Understanding. This mediation agreement is flexible and it can be varied as the child gets older and his, or her needs change.
- The mediation agreement can reflect the conversations that have taken place between parents and the mediation agreement may involve both long term and short term co-parenting plans or a parenting plan
Kent Family Mediation offers Family Mediation in East Kent, Family Mediation in South Kent, Family Mediation in South East Kent, Family Mediation in Mid Kent, Family Mediation in West Kent, Family Mediation in Thanet. Family Mediation in Sheppey, Family Mediation in the Weald of Kent, Kent Family Mediation has accessible family mediation centres in Ashford, Bromley, Canterbury, Chatham, Dartford, Dover, Gillingham, Maidstone, Northfleet, Ramsgate, Sevenoaks, Sittingbourne, Tunbridge Wells.