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Family Mediation in Leicester

About Direct Mediation Services in Leicester 

We are a group of family mediators based in Leicester. Led by the award-winning mediator Stuart Hanson, a College of Mediators member who has delivered mediation training across the country, all mediators at Direct Mediation Services are fully accredited by the Family Mediation Council.

All our mediators are authorised to conduct Mediation Information and Assessment meetings (MIAMs), and we are able to provide signatures for court forms (e.g. FM1 and C100). We offer online and face-to-face mediation appointments from our Leeds office, and can accommodate both private and legally aided clients.

Choosing mediation as an alternative to family court means that you and your ex-partner, rather than a judge, come to the decisions about what is best for your family. The impartial family mediators at our Leeds office have a wealth of experience in supporting families who are going through divorce, separation or other difficult changes to family life, and we will help you to have productive and effective discussions about what will happen in the future.

Why choose family mediation?

We know that you and your ex-partner may not find it easy to approach mediation, and that it can feel as if communication between the two of you has completely and irreparably broken down. However, if you and your ex-partner do decide to attend family mediation, you will both be taking the first step towards changing your current situation, and to coming to an arrangement that everyone in the family is able to live with. If you are considering booking your first appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about the mediation process and can provide you with more details about the mediation services we offer our clients. Furthermore, as we understand that picking up the phone to arrange mediation at a time when family relationships are under strain can feel stressful and overwhelming, we also offer our clients the option of booking their first appointment online. 

Family mediators at Direct Mediation Services can provide assistance in three main areas – child arrangements, communication and financial & property arrangements.

Child arrangements

We are able to help clients to come to decisions about who the children will live with, where and how often each parent will spend time with the children and the amount of maintenance each child requires. In order to reach decisions which are best for all members of the family, we also encourage our clients to consider what the children are going through, and to have productive and effective decisions which take into account the impact the current family situation may be having on the children.

Communication

Our experienced family mediators can help both parties to reflect upon how they can communicate more effectively with each other, and are able to assist you and your former partner in coming to decisions about how conflict can be minimised in the future. If you or your ex-partner are now in a new relationship, our mediators can also facilitate discussions about how to deal with the involvement of this new partner and can help you to decide upon the best ways of establishing effective communication with this new addition to everyday family life.

Financial and Property Arrangement 

We can help you and your ex-partner to decide how to divide your assets and can assist you in coming to a joint decision about what should happen to the family home. If you are worried about how you will afford to live after a separation, we can assist you and your former partner in coming to financial arrangements which will allow you both to maintain a decent standard of living.

There are a number of reasons why attending mediation may be the best course of action for you and your family: 

It is in the children’s best interests- Mediation aims to foster co-operation between parents and can help to reduce hostility between former partners. This is likely to be beneficial for any children involved in the separation, as a co-operative, non-confrontational atmosphere can make it easier for the children to maintain healthy and positive relationships with both parents.

It is usually quicker than going to court –

Statistics highlight that families who opt to use mediation as a method of settling their disputes are likely to resolve their case in a much shorter time than those who go through the court process. For example, according to the National Audit Office (2007), family disputes which made use of mediation services took an average of 110 days to resolve, whilst non-mediated cases lasted an average of 325 days. 

An agreement can be made in a safe & confidential environment:

Mediation is a confidential process and, unless safeguarding guidelines require this confidentiality to be broken, Direct Mediation Services will never share any information about our clients without the express permission of all parties involved. Our Leeds office offers a safe and comfortable environment to resolve family disputes or, if you would prefer another location, we are able to conduct our mediation services at other suitable, neutral venues.

It less stressful & results in less conflict –

The court process is based around an adversarial approach, and family members may get caught up in trying to ‘win’ against one other. In contrast to this, mediation focusses on reducing conflict, and encourages both parties to look at the overall picture.

It puts the decision in your hands, not the courts –

Our family mediators will help you and your ex-partner to come to an agreement that works for all members of the family and can also provide you with information about how to make this arrangement legally binding.  

It is usually cheaper than going to court –  

Recent statistics highlight that attending mediation is more cost-effective than going through the court process. For example, research conducted by the National Audit Office found that the average cost of going to family court in 2012 was £2,823, whilst the average cost of attending mediation was only £675.

The family mediation process

We are aware that most of our clients will not have attended mediation before, and that many will have little idea of what to expect from the mediation process. Therefore, in order to give you a clearer idea of what your mediation journey will involve, we have broken down the mediation process into four key stages:

Initial meeting with a mediator (MIAM)

The initial meeting you will have with a mediator is commonly referred to as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. Although you and your ex-partner will both be invited to attend a MIAM, you will not attend this meeting together. Instead, one of our experienced mediators will talk to you and your former partner on a one to one basis, and you will have the opportunity to discuss your personal situation and to ask any questions you may have about the mediation process. This initial meeting will usually last no longer than an hour, and we are able to conduct MIAM’s either online or face-to-face at our Leeds office. If you wish to attend a MIAM as soon as possible, we recommend booking an online mediation appointment, as we are often able to schedule online MIAM’s on the same day as booking.

During the MIAM, you and one of our accredited mediators will discuss the following:

  • What the mediation process will involve and how future mediation sessions will work
  • Whether mediation is an appropriate form of dispute resolution for you and your ex- partner
  • The benefits of choosing mediation over other methods of resolving family disputes (e.g. the court process)
  • How many mediation sessions you and you ex-partner are likely to need
  • How much the mediation process will cost
  • Whether you are eligible to apply for Legal Aid to assist with the costs of mediation.

The Agreement to Mediate

Before beginning your first joint mediation session, you and your ex-partner will be asked to sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate.’ This document will explain how the mediation sessions will work and will outline any rules which must be adhered to during your mediation appointments. If you wish to read over this document prior to attending your first joint mediation appointment, you are more than welcome to ask for a copy during your initial MIAM.  

Deciding on a type of mediation

There are four main types of mediation, and our experienced family mediators can help you to decide which one is best for you and your family.

  1. Sole Mediation

In a sole mediation session, you, your ex-partner and a mediator will sit down together and discuss potential arrangements for the future. Sole mediation appointments usually take around 60 – 90 minutes, and many of our clients find that they are able to come to a suitable arrangement after three sole mediation sessions.

  1. Co-mediation

In a co-mediation session, at least two mediators will be present. This can be useful in a number of scenarios – for example when there are high levels of conflict between you and your ex – partner, when there are three or more parties who wish to settle a dispute, or when there are a substantial number of issues which need to be discussed.

  1. Shuttle Mediation

If you feel as if cordial relations have completely and irrevocably broken down between you and your ex-partner, or if you do not feel safe being in the same room as them, shuttle mediation may be the most suitable form of mediation. During a shuttle mediation session, our experienced mediators will facilitate negotiations by ‘shuttling’ between two rooms and will ensure that you and your former partner are separated from each other at all times. Whilst this method is a good choice for those who are worried about safety during the mediation process, it should also be noted that this form of mediation can take much longer than either sole or co-mediation.

  1. Child Consultations

During a child consultation, one of our qualified mediators will talk with your children about their needs and desires and will listen to any suggestions they may have about what should happen in the future. Child consultations will only go ahead if both parents wish the children to be involved in the mediation process, and if the child agrees to attending a mediation session. We will never ask your children to make any choices or decisions during a child consultation, and our mediators will never undermine parental authority.

The Final Outcome

Once you and your ex-partner have come to an agreement about what should happen in the future, our experienced family mediators will explain the steps you need to take to make this agreement legally binding. Whilst it is not a necessity that any agreements made during the mediation process are formalised by law, we highly recommend that you pursue this route if your agreement concerns financial matters. If you and your ex – partner have not been able to come to a suitable arrangement by the end of the mediation process, our mediators will provide you with information about other methods of dispute resolution you may wish to try, such as court proceedings.

How much will family mediation cost in Leicester?

How much mediation costs will depend on whether you receive Legal Aid or are a privately paying client.

Legal Aid

Clients who qualify for Legal Aid will not have to pay any fees to attend mediation. You may qualify for legal aid if you have a low income or are in receipt of specific benefits, such as Job Seekers Allowance (Income based), Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (Income Based), Income Support or Pension Credit. If you qualify for Legal Aid but your former partner does not, the Legal Aid Agency will pay for their initial MIAM and one other full mediation session. However, after this, your ex-partner will need to pay the full fee for any mediation appointments.

Privately paying

The fees we charge for MIAM’s and mediation sessions are listed below

We offer both face-to-face and online appointments during normal office hours. If you wish to attend a MIAM as soon as possible, we recommend that you opt for our online service, as we will be able to offer you an appointment within three days of you making your booking. 

We are aware that many of our clients will have full time jobs, and that it may be difficult to take time off work to attend a mediation session. Therefore, in order to make it easier for our clients to attend a MIAM, we are able to schedule evening, early morning or weekend appointments. 

In order to begin the family court process, you are now required to provide proof of having attended a MIAM. If you are in this situation, and have already decided that mediation will definitely not be a suitable way to resolve your dispute, then our express service may be the best choice for you. With the express service, you will be able to attend an online MIAM within one hour of your booking and, after the appointment has taken place, we will email you a signed certificate. As this certificate is accepted by the courts as evidence of you having attended a MIAM, you will then be able to go ahead and make a court application.

All mediation sessions (excluding the aforementioned MIAM’s) cost £120 per hour. Please note that this is the cost per person, rather than the cost of the session itself.

Our family mediation centre in Leicester

Leicester is a major UK city and is in the unitary authority area of the East Midlands, England. The city is in the county town of Leicestershire. Leicester is found on the banks of the River Soar and is close to the National Forest. The city is north-east of Coventry and Birmingham, west of Peterborough and south of Nottingham.

The city and the urban area has the 11th highest population in England and the 13th in the UK.

Leicester is on two railway lines Midland Main Line and the Birmingham to London Stansted CrossCountry line. The M1/M69 motorways and the A6/A46 service the city. Leicester has the Leicester City  football club and Leicester Tigers rugby club.

Direct Mediation Services

Direct Mediation Services is a trading name of The Intelligent Solutions Group Ltd. The company is registered in England and Wales.  Company Number 7760633. VAT registration number 334 8141 12. Our company’s registered address is 5 Carla Beck House, Carla Beck Lane, Carleton, Skipton, BD23 3BQ.

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