Is Family Mediation Free?
Many people pose the question, “Is family mediation free? If the court has ordered it, or if the court requires me to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information Assessment meeting) as part of the process then why should I have to pay?”
Family Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that involves the use of a neutral third party to help parties involved in a conflict come to an agreement. Family mediation has become an increasingly popular way of resolving disputes, pertaining to Child Arrangements and/or financial matters, as part of a divorce or separation. Nationally, 73% of people using family mediation reach an agreement. At Mediate UK, where we use a method of progressive mediation, this rises to just over 90% of clients reaching an agreement.
While some people believe that family mediation is a free service, the reality is that mediation does come at a cost. In this blog, we will explore why family mediation is not free and the benefits of using this service as a means of dispute resolution.
Why is Family mediation not free?
Family Mediators are professionals who have undergone specialised training to help parties in a dispute come to an agreement. They work in the context of family disputes, such as divorce, child maintenance, and parenting arrangements. They apply their training to guide you through this progressive process by managing emotions, taking the time to understand family dynamics, sharing legal knowledge, and dealing with sensitive issues.
Like any other professional service, mediation comes at a cost. The mediator’s fee covers their time and expertise, as well as any administrative costs associated with the mediation process.
In addition to the mediator’s fee, there may be other costs associated with mediation. For example, if the meeting is being held in a neutral location, there may be a rental fee for the use of the space.
Despite the fact that mediation is not free, it can be a much more cost-effective way of resolving disputes. As opposed to going to court. Court proceedings can be lengthy and expensive, with legal fees and other costs quickly adding up.
Benefits of using Family mediation as a means of dispute resolution
There are many benefits to using family mediation as a means of resolving disputes. One of the most significant benefits is that mediation is a much less adversarial process than going to court. Mediation is designed to be collaborative, with both parties working together to come to an agreement that works for everyone involved. This can lead to a more positive and constructive outcome, with both parties feeling satisfied with the final result.
Another benefit of family mediation is that it is a much faster process than going to court. Court proceedings can take months or even years to resolve, with both parties stuck in limbo while the case is ongoing. In contrast, family mediation is usually resolved in a matter of weeks or months, allowing both parties to move on with their lives and put the dispute behind them.
Finally, as mentioned previously, family mediation is often a much more cost-effective way of resolving these disputes. The costs involved in family mediation are usually much lower than those associated with court proceedings. Family mediation can save both parties time and money.
Is there Legal aid available for family mediation?
In the UK, there is legal aid available for mediation for those that qualify. Legal aid is a government-funded scheme that provides assistance to individuals who have low disposable income or are in receipt of income support. This would need to be assessed, but if you are eligible for legal aid, the costs of family mediation will be covered, making it a much more accessible option for those on low incomes. Follow this link to check if you do qualify for legal aid.
Mediate UK does not offer legal aid for family mediation. To find a family mediator local to you who does offer legal aid, you can visit the Family Mediation Council.
What other help is there?
If you are discussing child arrangements as part of the mediation process, the Government have allocated vouchers for mediation up to the value of £500 for couples who need help reaching an agreement on parenting matters. If available these funds can be put towards the cost of your joint mediation sessions. Mediate UK is signed up to the scheme and processes the voucher application on your behalf.
You can find out more about this voucher scheme HERE.
In summary, family mediation is not a free service unless you are eligible for legal aid. It is, however, a more amicable and collaborative process that allows both parties to work together to find a solution that works for everyone involved. It is often far cheaper than going to court or using solicitors to negotiate on your behalf. Family mediation is the Government’s and the court’s preferred method of dispute resolution when dealing with disputes that may arise as part of your divorce or separation. It could also save you several thousand pounds in legal costs.