Mediation: A faster, more affordable way to divorce
Focus Mediation works with couples to swiftly finalise divorce affairs and build a happier tomorrow
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Contact us at any time using our online form, or call us for a 15 minute discussion about your situation on 01908 231132.
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Welcome to the Focus Mediation page for divorcing couples. Divorce includes separation.
On this page you will find everything you need to know to ensure that your divorce is finalised as quickly and affordably as possible.
We have worked with divorcing couples for decades, and bring a wealth of experience, authority and professionalism to dispute resolution that is simply unrivalled by other mediation companies and services.
Read on to learn how mediation can help you.
What is family mediation?
Learn how Focus Mediation can help you finalise your divorce quickly and affordably
An impartial mediator helps divorcing couples agree arrangements for separation – whether regarding children, property, finance, business or pensions.
Family Mediation sorts your separation and divorce quickly and affordably. If you are in the middle of a divorce, just separated or split up some time ago – if you need to settle issues about children, child contact or residence, then family mediation is the answer.
It will save you time, money and the inconvenience and risks involved in court proceedings.
Over the course of a day, or through a series of mediation sessions, your experienced Focus mediator helps you agree a plan for issues about children, finances and property.
Is mediation for me?
However complicated or impossible your situation may feel, it is likely that Focus Mediation can help you through
Mediation is the best option for most divorcing couples who want a quick and affordable divorce.
If you have a dispute:
- With an ex partner or spouse over children, money, property, pensions maintenance
- With family over a will or a power or attorney or similar – see our civil mediation section
- A business over partnership or commercial issues, property, land or employment – see our civil mediation section
Then a Focus specialist mediator can probably help you resolve that dispute fast and affordably.
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process where an impartial expert mediator helps people do a deal rather than fight. Mediation can manage or resolve conflict and help you avoid litigation or end court proceedings that have started.
Mediations can take hours or a day, court proceedings take months or years.
Mediations usually cost under a tenth of the costs of litigation to trial. The Proportionality Court Rule says costs should be proportionate to case value, but this rule is very often broken.
Did you know the costs of litigation often exceed the value of the dispute and who pays those costs can be the biggest issue to resolve?
Mediation brings an outbreak of sanity to conflict and helps people end disputes even if they can’t agree on anything else. Most people never agree on the facts – but they do a deal they’d rather live with on than carry on destructive, costly fighting.
However, mediation is not appropriate in absolutely every case.
Mediation would not be appropriate for your divorce if:
- One partner refuses to mediate – as mediation is a voluntary process.
- There is significant on-going domestic violence.
Focus Mediation is able to help most other couples finalise their divorce.
Why Focus Mediation?
Affordable | Professional | Trustworthy
Focus Mediation is a specialist mediation company set up over twenty years ago to provide clients with excellent mediation services, and nothing else.
We pride ourselves on providing an industry-leading quality of service at competitive prices.
We only allow properly registered and accredited mediators to join our panel, who practise mediation as their main profession. Most have thousands of hours of mediation practice so really know how to tackle conflict and litigation constructively.
Our trainees are taken on after rigorous selection procedures and all undertake to become accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) for divorce and family disputes or be registered with the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) for non family (divorce) disputes.
Our mediators never just “dabble”.
Their experience makes them expert practitioners – which is what you need most if you’re in dispute.
Our mediators are specialists in their fields, so for family cases they are lawyers knowledgeable in Family Law. As such they can give you both helpful, relevant, neutral legal information.
We have lawyers and qualified professionals from other backgrounds who have ‘Seen the Light’ and converted to mediation- they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to disputes. If you have an employment dispute we have HR specialist mediators and for property and land disagreements we have a surveyor who is also adept at building disputes. We could go on – just refer to the profiles of our panel of mediators.
Don’t just take our word for it.
Why not read our testimonials page and hear from our clients?
Mediation Initial Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
What is a MIAM, and how it can help you?
A Mediation Intake Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is a single meeting where a mediator explains how mediation can help you sort out arrangements for any children and agree your financial settlement.
The government wants to encourage the use of family mediation to reduce the number of cases being decided at court. Everyone who wants to apply to court in family proceedings (with some exceptions) must see an accredited mediator to hear about mediation and decide whether they want to try and resolve their disagreements in mediation.
Not all cases are suitable for mediation and the MIAM enables an informed consideration of mediation. People are not made to mediate, as mediation is voluntary.
You may come to an assessment together or apart, as you both prefer. Just tell us when we speak to you to fix your appointment.
Book a MIAM
Reach out to Focus Mediation at any time using our online form, or call us for a 15 minute discussion about your situation on 01908 231132.
100% free. 100% confidential. Guaranteed.
What to expect in a mediation
How Focus Mediation resolves your divorce
Multiple session mediation
Over the course of one to five sessions usually lasting 90 to 120 minutes, we work with you to plan your divorce.
The same financial information is required in mediation as if you were going to court or negotiating a settlement via lawyers or using Collaborative Law. We work with the Court Form E and the same financial documents any lawyer would expect to see to verify financial facts.
This means you need to provide bank statements, P60s, business accounts, pension valuations (CEVs) – everything relevant to your finances.
Your mediator goes through your financial documents and prepares an Open Financial Statement and asset schedule. The process is not forensic, but it is thorough.
If there is a valuable final salary pension then it is likely a pension actuary‘s report will be required to ensure your settlement makes optimum use of your financial resources and takes everything into account fairly.
We can bring in the right expertise to help you to get the best outcome and
we regularly work with:
- Pension Actuaries
- Financial Advisors
So we can establish the best way forward, even in complex cases.
By focusing on achieving good outcomes, rather than on fighting and arguing a case, better overall outcomes can be achieved faster and at lower cost.
Timetable – financial cases
- Assessment – together or separately (MIAM)
- First mediation session to go through Forms E and your documentation, collating the figures on a flip-chart
- Between sessions the mediator drafts an Open Financial Statement and sends it to you
- You both carry out any action-plan, such as finding out about housing and mortgage options
- Any relevant experts will be asked to help you on the basis that they have an equal duty of care to you both
- Options analysis – we look at the various ways of sorting out your settlement and follow through with the implications of each one for you both
- You can take legal advice on the options under discussion
- You agree on the best options for you and finally…
- The mediator drafts a Memorandum of Understanding setting out your proposals for the settlement. This is not binding, but your lawyers can make it binding in a separation deed or consent order in the context of divorce
- If course proceedings are needed or are underway, we work out with you how these can be rounded off with a binding agreement (although we do not produce such in mediation).
Timetable – children cases
- As for financial cases
- First mediation session – we talk about your child/children, their situation, wishes and feelings
- We establish our ground rules you agree to work with
- We may consider a Child Inclusive Mediation (CiM) in appropriate cases
- You are helped to work out an action plan for your child/children
- We review progress since session one and develop the action plan. We talk about the children’s wishes and feelings
- At any stage a Child inclusive Mediation can take place if you and your child/children agree
- Options are opened up, legal advice can be taken
- A Co-Parenting Plan (CPP) can be prepared for you
- If Court proceedings are under way we work out how to bring them to an end by agreement
This simply means ‘all issues mediation’ and includes property, finances and children.
One day mediation (Fast track)
One day family mediation takes place over one day instead of over a series of sessions. It differs in several key respects from normal family mediation and it is not generally available at most family mediation services, indeed you may not have heard of it before. Focus Mediation Ltd has used its dual trained mediators to develop this model of mediation, as it will suit some clients better.
In one day family mediation (sometimes also called One Day Lawyer Assisted Mediation or ODLAM) you are in separate rooms and the mediator is able to hold confidences between you. Uniquely, one day family mediation can result in a binding agreement on the day, so long as your lawyers are there to advise you and make your settlement binding. This is usually in a Consent Order on divorce. This is how commercial and civil disputes have been resolved for decades, if you want your solicitor with you or if you want your settlement done in a day, this model of mediation is ideal.
You can both still elect the one day model of mediation, without solicitors being there. Then your agreement will not be made binding that day, but will result in a non-binding document called a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’. Your lawyers can make this binding for you after the mediation.
Golden rules for separating without harming the children
Mediation is a really good tool to help you sort out how to co-parent after separation. It helps you work out shared assumptions and ground rules. Some Focus mediators are trained and CRB checked to consult with children. This enables their wishes and feelings to be taken into account in your decision-making.
A few simple changes agreed in mediation can help most families – and sometimes changes can be transformative.
As a rule you should always try to separate your feelings from your children’s feelings. Separation ends your relationship as a couple, but you’ll both always be their parents and your children should not lose a parent because you have decided to split up.
Child inclusive mediation
Child inclusive mediation, sometimes called direct consultation, gives children the opportunity to express their wishes and feelings, to be heard and feel valued and respected.
With the agreement of parents and children, children can be invited to meet with a mediator. They are offered confidentiality to enable them to explore their concerns and feelings before deciding what they want mum and dad to know. They are usually over nine and must agree to come freely.
Mediators are clear with the children that they are not being asked to choose between their parents, or make parental decisions, but that the consultation is to help their parents make the best decisions for them for their future.
Mediation and financial arrangements
How Focus Mediation can help you resolve complex business, tax and pension considerations
Business and tax mediation
Fast and affordable divorce resolution with Focus Mediation
The costs of family mediation are set out below. You pay as you go. It is important to see these in context.
Court proceedings can be very expensive and run into tens of thousands of pounds each, whereas mediation costs far less.
Mediation intake assessment meeting
If you come together to this meeting, it will cost £180 in total.
If you come separately, the cost is £120 per person.
One day mediation
One day mediation costs £995 + VAT each and includes up to 2 hours reviewing documentation beforehand.
Additional time is charged at £125 + VAT per hour.
It is not possible to provide a definite indication of your costs involved in multi-session mediation as this depends heavily on the complexity and specific requirements of your personal situation. Your mediator will be able to provide a full explanation of likely costs following your MIAM.
Everything we get asked about
How will I know we have all the right information about the assets?
Focus employs lawyer mediators who are well accustomed to ensuring that the legal process of ‘disclosure’ is completed properly. They will help you understand your situation.
How will I know what the options are?
Our lawyer mediators are very well qualified and able to give first class legal information in a neutral way about complex cases involving pensions, businesses, companies, tax and similar issues.
What if one of you is more forceful than the other?
Mediators are trained to cope with power imbalances. They ensure both of you are heard and the process is designed to maintain a safe environment and a fair balance between you, as well as ensure you both understand all the financial information.
Will I get the best deal possible?
You are encouraged to take legal advice to find out about the possibilities. However, the best deal is really what suits you and your family. The mediator will help you think about options. Also, getting the best deal may cost more than the benefit and is not guaranteed anyway.
We have already started proceedings. Does that matter?
Mediation is a useful aid to resolving disputes at any stage, whether before or after proceedings have started. Court proceedings are frequently resolved by agreement. Mediation is a great aid to that end.
How long does mediation take?
Each session lasts about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, and it usually takes between 1 and 5 sessions to resolve the issues. The number of sessions depends on the range of issues and the complexity of your affairs. The introductory session lasts about 1 hour.
Is mediation binding?
No, not in conventional family mediation, but you can take the proposals to your solicitor for a binding Court Order or Separation Deed if that is needed in your case. Children’s arrangements don’t have to be made binding, but we could draw up a co-parenting plan, which you can sign if you wish.
In one day family mediation, your solicitors are there at the end, not all day, to make your agreement binding.
Is mediation hard?
Going through a divorce is always hard. But mediation is usually easier than your alternative of Court proceedings. Separation is painful, and sorting things out is not always easy, but it has to be done. Mediation is a type of facilitated divorce and separation.
Is mediation quick?
Mediation is usually as quick as clients want, with sessions arranged at weekly intervals if you wish or even in one long session if everyone is prepared (one day mediation).
However, it may take time to assemble the necessary information and sometimes you may benefit from a period of reflection between sessions.
A mediated outcome will almost always be achieved before your case could proceed to a Court hearing.
Is mediation always appropriate?
Not always. Both parties have to want to take part in mediation – it is voluntary. Also, if there is heavy domestic violence, it may not be possible to mediate. The mediator will make a careful risk assessment.
Do I have to meet my ex in a mediation?
We can offer shuttle mediation, with you in separate rooms, in appropriate cases. We would talk to you about the implications of this at your MIAM.