Using a Solicitor During Mediation
Should I Use a Solicitor During Family Mediation?
Family solicitors can no longer offer their clients Legal Aid or Public Funding, unless their firm has a Legal Aid Contract and the case involves domestic violence, which is evidenced. This means that anyone who is likely to get Legal Aid because they are on benefits, or on a low income, now has to go via a ‘Legal Services Accredited Family Mediation Service Provider’ unless they can prove that they have been subject to domestic violence.
You don’t need a solicitor for family mediation, but Kent Family Mediation does recommend that you consult with a family solicitor or family lawyer during the family mediation process. You may wish to consult a family solicitor to begin with, in order that they can obtain background information, however this is not necessary. The family mediator will speak to you about using solicitors for your divorce or family separation and the resolution options that you have during your MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting). Your solicitor should tell you that you need to attend a MIAM and find out about how mediation can help you resolve your dispute before you can apply to go to court over a family legal matter. You can’t bring your solicitor into any family mediation meeting.
What Solicitors should tell their family clients
If you see a solicitor first, the solicitor is obliged to tell you if you want to go to Court, it is now a legal requirement to attend a ‘MIAM’ (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) with a qualified Family Mediator, to find out all about family mediation, be assessed for your eligibility to make a claim for Legal Aid and to be made aware of the alternative options that are open to you before you can apply to go to the Family Court. If you have tried to make an application to take someone to court over a family matter, you will already be aware that you must attend a MIAM before you can make the application to go to court.
What Solicitors should tell you if you suffer from, or have suffered from domestic violence from the other person involved in the divorce or family separation dispute
If you suffer from domestic violence and you can evidence this, your Family Lawyer or Family Solicitor should tell you to contact a legal firm that holds a Legal Aid Contract. The firms are able to offer Legal Aid to clients who can evidence cases of domestic violence. This will enable you to apply for free legal help with that firm. Click HERE to see a list of the Solicitor firms in Kent that can help this type of case.
What Solicitors should tell you if you can’t afford to pay private legal fees
At what point do I need to see a Family Solicitor?
Kent Family Mediation will forward any draft agreements to your nominated solicitor for approval.
What is Collaborative Mediation?
Successful family mediation depends upon the close cooperation of the clients and the support of their legal advisor or family solicitor. It is important to be aware that not all family solicitors or legal advisors support the practice of family mediation, but there are some solicitors who encourage and support family mediation and who are willing to work alongside the family mediation process
What are the benefits of family mediation?
Family mediation is by far the most cost effective way of coming to an agreement with the other person, rather than going to the family court or through legal channels. It does away with any unnecessary and expensive ‘toing and froing’ between both sets of solicitors during the negotiation stage. Click here to see more benefits of family mediation.
It is important to remember that if you have been assessed as being eligible for Legal Aid/ Public Funding, then in addition to getting FREE Family Mediation you will also be able to have a number of hours FREE consultation time with a Solicitor.
What happens if I already have a date to go to Court. Can I mediate before I go to Court?
Yes you can mediate before you go to Court and it is strongly advisable that you try family mediation before you go to Court. If you have a Court date pending then you will have already been to a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) and found out about how mediation can help to resolve your family dispute. During this mediation meeting, you will have been assessed by a Family Mediator for Legal Aid, found out about what family mediation is and how family mediation can help you, been given the options that are open to you and had the relevant Family Court forms signed by an accredited family mediator.
If you go to Court having only attended a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting)and you have not been through the family mediation process, then it is worth remembering that the Judge may still make an Order for you to attend family mediation, as family mediation is the Courts and the Judges preferred way of resolving family disputes, a divorce case, child contact case, or family separation case.
How should I choose a Solicitor
You should choose your solicitor carefully, ensure that you are fully aware of the fees that they will charge you and that you have chosen the right family solicitor to deal with your divorce case, child contact dispute or family separation dispute. Click HERE for a list of Kent solicitors that are willing to work with family mediation clients.
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