Mediation is more than a signature
At A. Palmer & Associates we work with separated parents/families to help them find a way to deal with the conflicts that can get in the way of doing the best for their children. We find that parents are then better able to communicate with one another, ensuring that the needs of their child(ren) are the focus of their shared on-going decision making.
The purpose of each mediation session is to help both parties establish how they agree to work together as future separated parents and how to manage the changing situation along the way. During mediation, our impartial mediator will help both parents to articulate their needs and help them in working towards a mutually acceptable agreement. Producing a comprehensive Parenting Plan is a clear and effective way of understanding what has been agreed. Mediation is always a voluntary process and each party must be willing to participate.
Once parents start to feel the benefit of the mediation, they sometimes find that they would like for the children to have more involvement in the process, the mediator can discuss Direct Child Consultation with both parents so they can fully understand what this would involve.
How Does Mediation Work?
On 22 April 2014 a law was passed that makes a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) compulsory before making an application to go to the family court. This will be the first step in the Mediation process, unless there are exceptional circumstances relating to violent behaviours.
Each parent has an individual MIAM meeting with our mediator. During this meeting, the Mediation process will be explained fully and if appropriate a financial assessment for Legal Aid will be completed. At the end of the MIAM, each parent will then decide if they wish to participate in the Mediation process.
Assuming both parents wish to participate in Mediation, the next step is to book a session where both parents come together to discuss their key issues and concerns relating to their child(ren). Our mediator will help the parents to choose and agree a list of discussion points for the meeting (based on the parents’ key issues and concerns raised) and then assist each parent in making their point(s) for discussion. Depending on the complexity of the family situation and any specific issues being experienced by the chid(ren), our mediator will be able to indicate the likely number of sessions required. After each meeting the agreed decisions will be written up and sent to each parent. Parents can then work together between the sessions to implement the decisions they have made and bring feedback on how it has worked to the next session.
Once both parents can agree that they can work amicably together to manage and further develop the decisions they have made on behalf of their child(ren), they will no longer need to come for Mediation meetings. The parents can work together through any matters as they arise as family life changes. Parents can always return to Mediation should they wish to.
If the mediator feels that mediation is not appropriate, or you and your former partner decide not to go ahead with it, the mediator will issue a Family Mediation 1 (FM1) form. This allows you or your solicitor to go ahead with applying for a court order. Please note that there is a time limit on the form, you will need to make the application within the four months following your MIAM. If it is outside of this timeframe, you would need to attend another MIAM to see if the situation has changed.
See if you are eligible for FREE mediation sessions