Frequently Asked Questions
If you can’t find the answer to your question below, you may find what you are looking for in the questions and answers section at the foot of the What is Family Mediation page. In making your decision about whether to try mediation, you may also want to read some of our family mediation case studies, or find out what some of our past mediation clients say about their experience with Kent Family Mediation Service.
Family mediation is an impartial way of resolving issues arising from a Divorce and/ or a family breakdown with the help of a trained and fully qualified Mediator. Issues that Family Mediation can help with are:
- Division of property, pensions and finances
- Arrangements relating to the children such as contact, residency, sorting out levels of child support maintenance and parental responsibility
- Extended family arrangements
No. Family mediation is not the same as marriage counselling, or marriage guidance. Both parties must be certain that their relationship, or marriage has broken down before they attend mediation.
Mediation is completely voluntary; however, if you wish to go to Court, you must first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with a qualified, accredited Family Mediator.
The main benefits of family mediation are:
- It is a far quicker, cheaper and more impartial way of dealing with issues than going through legal channels.
- It empowers both parties to make informed choices that will effect each of their and any children of the family’s futures.
- It can help build channels of communication and help regain lost trust between both parties of the dispute.
- It can be a more amicable way of resolving issues.
- It will take into account the needs and wishes of any children.
- It enables both parties to remain in control of decisions about any children, property and finances.
- It is a completely confidential process (subject to child safety concerns).
- Any agreement reached in mediation can be made legally binding.
- It offers a relaxed atmosphere in which children’s voices may be heard.
Yes, in the majority of cases, providing both parties are willing to take part in the mediation process, be open and honest during the discussions and stick to any agreement reached as a result of the mediation. Over 80% of cases reach an agreement through mediation.
Family mediation is available to any person who has been affected by a separation or a divorce. This also applies to extended members of a family including Grandparents.
The feelings and emotions of any child of the family will play an important part of the mediation discussions between both parties, whether it is the parents or the grandparents that are involved in the dispute.
If the participants and the Mediator feel that it would be beneficial for the children to be involved in the process then ‘Child Inclusive Mediation’ may be arranged, whereupon the Mediator speaks directly with the children without the parents being present. However, this would only be made possible if both the parents and the children give their consent for this to happen.
Before you mediate, you will attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), during which time the Mediator will assess you Legal Aid. If you are assessed as being ‘not eligible’ then you will be charged for the assessment meeting. If you then wish to proceed to mediation and are not eligible for Legal Aid, you will need to pay for your mediation meetings.
During the MIAM meeting the Mediator will also talk to both parties separately to carry out a Domestic Violence Screening and identify whether mediation is suitable and explain the mediation process.
Each mediation session may last 1.5 to 2 hours.
The average number of mediation sessions needed is between 1 and 2 for child only issues and between 3 and 5 for property, finances and child issues. However, the number of sessions may vary depending on:
- The type and the complexity of the individual circumstances and issues surrounding the case.
- The parties’ commitment to attend mediation.
- The parties’ openness and their willingness to continue to fully participate and communicate during the sessions.
- The parties’ ability to provide timely information and supply supporting evidence when required to do so by the Mediator.
No, it is not permissible to bring anybody else to the mediation session with you. However, it may be possible in exceptional circumstances. Naturally we are able to arrange for interpreters to facilitate mediation sessions.
- Between us we have over 70-years of experience.
- We use qualified, impartial, approachable and ‘down to earth’ Mediators.
- We are focused on our Clients’ needs.
- We have a high success rate.
- We can offer free mediation and subsidised private fees.
- We can save you time and money.
- We can deal with all issues family mediation cases.
- We constantly strive to improve the quality of our Service.
- We have a number of locations throughout Kent.
- We are committed to equal opportunities and work to a Code of Conduct.
- We are affiliated to National Family Mediation.
- We are supported by the local judiciary who encourage the use of Mediation in preference to Court action
- We are a Charity and not a ‘for profit’ service.
No. Family mediation is not the same as marriage counselling or marriage guidance. Both parties must be certain that their relationship or marriage has broken down before they attend mediation.
The typical cost of a divorce for a couple with two children is £27,000, including court and solicitors fees and maintenance for the first year.
In England and Wales, filing for a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership costs £593. There is also a £45 fee for obtaining the Decree Absolute or final order and £255 for an application for a financial order, to decide how money and property are split. If the couple are able to agree a financial arrangement themselves, the court fee is £50.
You can pay a solicitor to help you with the basis paperwork required. Many solicitors charge a flat fee of about £500, others bill between £100 and £500 per hour. The costs will rise if additional advice is needed, such as when there is a dispute over the division of assets. According to the Money Advice Service, the typical cost if a couple go to Court ranges from £3,000 to £10,000 per person (in fees alone). If a couple are willing to negotiate, using a mediator to work out a deal is an alternative.
About two thirds of divorces involve a financial order, which specifies how jointly owned assets such as pensions and equity in the family home or properties are to be shared. The legal starting point is 50:50, although many couples agree a different division. In most cases, the family home causes the biggest problems. Couples with children often decide to retain the property initially rather than selling it and splitting the proceeds, but this can cause tax problems for the parent who moves out, as he or she could become liable for capital gains tax once the home is sold because it has ceased to be their main residence
Non-resident parents are usually required to pay child maintenance which is a percentage of their net pay based on the number of children, how often they spend time with them, whether there are any overnight stays and whether they have any other children living with them. For one child, this is typically about 15% and for two, 20%. In some cases, such as where a mother has given up her career to look after the youngsters, spousal maintenance is also payable, for a set time or indefinitely.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your relationship over?
- Are you ready to move on with your life?
- Do you want to be in control of decisions which will affect your future?
- Do you want to resolve the issues as quickly as possible?
- Do you want to resolve the issues as cheaply as possible?
- Do you want the best outcome for everyone (including your children if you have any)?
- Can you sit in a room with your ex-partner and an impartial, qualified Mediator?
- Are you able to put your emotions to one side and remain open minded?
- Do you want to want to avoid having to go to court?
- Are you able to take turns at speaking and not talk over other people?
- Will you be able to try to see things from anothers point of view?
- Will you be able to open and honest about your monthly income and expenditure?
- Can you provide documentary evidence to support your monthly income and expenditure?
- Will you be able to stick to any agreement that you make with your ex-partner?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then family mediation may be suitable for you. Get in touch to discuss your situation with a member of our team.
Family Mediation Services
Family Mediation is the courts preferred way of resolving an argument, or issues that occur after a separation, or the breakdown of a relationship;including sorting out child contact, the custody of a child, child support maintenance and disputes…
Separated Parents Information Programme
Kent Family Mediation Service are pleased to announce that we have been granted a contract to provide Parenting Information Programmes in Kent on behalf of Cafcass. We hold the SPIP courses in a number of locations in Kent…