Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Your individual Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM) will provide an ideal opportunity for you to ask the expert mediator any questions. Here are some answers to the ones we are asked most frequently.

How long does mediation take?

How long does mediation take?

This will depend on you and the complexity of the case. Each meeting lasts between 1 and 2 hours. On average two or three meetings will be needed but some very narrow issues can be sorted out in a single session. Mediations, even when they require three meetings, are usually completed within three to four months, making it much quicker than the court process which takes between six and twelve months. At your individual Information and Assessment Meeting, the mediator will be able to give you a clearer idea of the number of meetings you will need and the overall timescale.

Mediation is very easy and helpful. It's also much quicker and cheaper than solicitors

When should I start mediating?

When should I start mediating?

There is no hard and fast rule and you will be the best judge of when it’s right for you. Many people come to mediation soon after separating or once divorce proceedings have started as they feel motivated to sort things out at an early stage. However, others find their way to us after having spent months and sometimes years in negotiations which have reached an impasse. We are happy to work with you whatever stage you are at. It is never too late to talk to us, even if you have started court proceedings. And if you have already tried mediation, it may well work better a second time as not all mediators work in the same way and how you both feel about the situation may well have changed over the intervening months. Please call us to arrange an initial meeting so we can help you decide if mediation is right for you now.

I think mediation is a very useful tool to take a step back and look properly at what you’re about to do, in an informal relaxed atmosphere, that is less stressful than a solicitor

Do we have to sit in the same room?

Do we have to sit in the same room?

Mediation is essentially about communication rather than confrontation. Our mediators are very skilled at facilitating the meetings so that you both have a chance not just to put across your thoughts and ideas but also to give you the opportunity to hear what the other person is saying and see the whole picture. At your initial individual meeting, we will discuss the different ways that we can ensure you feel safe and comfortable. In situations where one person finds it too intimidating to be in the same virtual room, we can discuss using a model of mediation where you can be in separate rooms throughout the process.

Mediation provides an aid to communication so there is then a feeling of fairness

Can children be involved in the mediation process?

Can children be involved in the mediation process?

Children can sometimes be unsure or have mixed feelings about their parents separating. They often find it hard to explain to their parents about how they are really feeling for fear of upsetting them. So we are also trained to meet with your children directly, to allow them to express their own wishes and feelings within the mediation process.

Our experience is that children really benefit from having this chance to talk to us. For you, as parents, that understanding of your children’s perspective helps you see the whole picture so you can find solutions that work best for them too.

What support is available for people with disabilities or other disadvantages to participate in mediation?

What support is available for people with disabilities or other disadvantages to participate in mediation?

We make every effort to ensure that our services are available to people who have disabilities or sensory impairments or who do not speak English fluently. We can organise interpreting support for those who need it. Clients with difficulties arising from other health issues can also be supported, and this can be discussed fully at the Information and Assessment Meeting.

Can mediation deal with difficult dynamics?

Can mediation deal with difficult dynamics?

Some people think that mediation is only for separated couples who continue to have an easy and co-operative relationship. However the reality is that few couples who come to mediation have that sort of relationship.

More often than not we mediate with people who - before they started mediation - were worried that their ex-partner would do one or more of the following:

  • dominate and steamroller the discussions
  • be allowed to pressurise you into an arrangement that may not be fair for you
  • refuse to let you get a word in edgeways
  • try to confuse you because they have more financial knowledge than you
  • charm the mediator
  • use the mediation to continue to intimidate you

But their actual experience of mediation has in fact been very different. Of course there are some situations where mediation won’t be the appropriate way forward but there are many situations where mediation is very successful even when the relationship is complicated and fraught. All our mediators are very skilled at managing these difficult dynamics and have lots of ways to ensure that you feel safe and are able to engage fully and fairly in the process.

Your initial Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting is just between you and the expert mediator. This gives you a chance to discuss your concerns frankly and we will explain how we might be able to address them so that you feel confident in giving a mediation a try.