Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are a number of questions were are frequently asked about our services. If you have a query that isn't satisfactorily addressed, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I bring to the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
If you wished to be assessed for Legal Aid then you will need to bring evidence of your income for us to assess you. If you are living with a partner you will also need to bring evidence of their income. Please see the document below for more information about what evidence you need to bring. If you any questions please do contact us.
Can I be sure it is confidential?
Confidentiality is a strongly held principle of mediation. Unless you both choose a joint initial meeting, these inital meetings will be conducted individually. Mediation is entirely voluntary. You will not be put under any pressure to proceed and, in the event that your situation is not suitable for mediation, we will not give out information to the other party or to a court that leads you to be blamed or penalised for a decision not to proceed. Mediation is also legally privileged. This means that where mediation does take place, the discussions you have and any arrangements you propose or test out cannot later be relied upon in court proceedings unless you both agree.
Do I have to attend a MIAM?
It is now a legal requirement that anyone making an application to Court in family proceedings must attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). There are some exceptions and these are listed on the application form. In practice, this means that you will probably need to attend an initial meeting to assess the suitability of the case for mediation. Remember, although attending an initial meeting is expected by the court, the mediation process itself is voluntary and you will not be penalised if mediation is unsuitable or you choose not to proceed. That said, "...mediation is quicker, cheaper, and less confrontational... research shows it can cost a quarter of the price and take a quarter of the time of going to court (National Family Mediation)."
Are all cases suitable for mediation?
Conflict and distress are a normal part of relationship breakdown. Mediators are trained to manage conflict. If , however, there are any issues such as current child protection and domestic violence concerns, this may mean that mediation is unsuitable. The confidential initial meeting is a safe opportunity to discuss such concerns and to discuss suitability.
How long does mediation take?
• We aim to see you within two weeks of the initial referral. Often we can see you more quickly
• Where child issues only are discussed in mediation, it usually takes 1-3 sessions.
• Where finance or finance plus child issues are discussed in mediation, it usually takes 3-5 sessions.
• Typically, people using mediation reach agreement and resolution within three months. Time between sessions is set by you to allow testing out of arrangements or to gather essential information eg house and pension valuations.
• Once you have made arrangements that you think are fair, these can be made legally binding if necessary.
Where will I see you?
Our head office is in Ashington and we have offices in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Berwick, Durham and North Shields.
Will the other party be at the MIAM?
This is a private and confidential meeting just for you. The other party will not be there unless you choose to come together. Even then, there will be some one-to one time with the mediator.
What does it cost?
There is no charge for people who are eligible for Legal Aid. For those who are not eligible, mediation costs a fraction of going to court. Please see our fees page for more information on charges.
How do I pay if I am not eligible for Legal Aid?
You can pay with your credit or debit card by telephone in advance of the meeting or you can pay with cash or card on the day. Sorry, we do not accept cheques.
How is Family Mediation North East regulated?
As providers of legally aided mediation, we are strictly regulated and regularly audited by the Legal Aid Agency.
All of our mediators are Family Mediation Council Accredited (FMCA) Family Mediators. FMCA Family Mediators are qualified to the highest standard and governed by FMC Codes of Practice. As a requirement of becoming members, we have undergone comprehensive training and are required to undertake regular professional supervision. Make sure you use a Family Mediator who holds this qualification.
Family Mediation North East has also held the Help and Support for Separated Families (HSSF) Mark for several years. The mark is awarded following an independent assessment and demonstrates that we actively work to help parents collaborate constructively to arrange things for their children.
We have a complaints procedure available below in the event that you are not satisfied with the service you have received.