Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Family Mediation Services?

We are a collective group of experienced and FMA qualified independent Mediators, with a range of previous experience in therapeutic and legal professions. We generally work from home or offices to suit your requirements and try wherever possible to keep costs to an absolute minimum.

What is Family Mediation?

Mediation is a positive, solution-focused process that will help you to resolve family, relationship and financial differences in a calm and safe environment. Mediation is quicker and cheaper than going to Court and you are able to make decisions that suit your family's unique situation, rather than having arrangements imposed on you by the Court. Research shows that mediation helps families separate co-operatively and the impact of separation and divorce on children is significantly reduced.

How Long Does Mediation Take?

Clients usually need 2-3, 90 minute sessions to reach a settlement. We work to your requirements, use local mediation rooms and offer flexible timings to fit in with work and school pick ups. If one party is travelling a long distance we can arrange fewer, longer sessions, if required.

How much does it cost?

The first 30 minute consultation or Miam is free, all future costs will be discussed at that meeting. We charge £50-£70, per person per hour, chargeable in ten minute time slots. We do not charge VAT. Documentation, if required, is charged as follows per person: FM1 Form £20-£30, Parenting Plan £40, Memorandum of Understanding £70, Schedule of Assets £35. Open Financial Statement £70. There are no other charges.

I have Domestic Violence or safety concerns?

Please call the office to discuss your concerns. We can arrange for separate waiting and access areas and other arrangements to make sure that you feel safe and comfortable. If necessary, we can arrange for shuttle mediation to take place in separate rooms.

Do I have to attend?

Since 6th April 2011, the Government has decided that all family disputes are expected to attend a mediation information meeting to find out about mediation. If you do not attend, your case could be seriously delayed, or adjourned until you have seen a Mediator. If you have concerns or worries about attending a mediation meeting please call the office on 0117 330 5703. We will do our best to help.

Don’t know which way to turn?

When in the process of separating, it’s normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed and we understand how stressful this can be. Our job as family mediators is to help you feel at ease and comfortable. We encourage both parties to treat each other with respect. We are there to explain and clarify any financial information and legal jargon and to make sure that you have the necessary information you need to make fair, workable and informed decisions.

We will never agree?

No one comes to mediation in complete agreement. It is quite normal for clients to be at loggerheads, in a stalemate or stuck in circular arguments, quite often communication has completely broken down and both sides feel that they will never, ever agree. Our mediators are skilled at diffusing conflict and trained to help you resolve difficult, complex, emotional and financial issues.

Can’t face being in the same room as your ex-partner?

On your first visit you can see the mediator on your own. The mediator will explain how mediation works and answer any concerns and questions that you might have. If you still cannot face a joint mediation session, we can arrange for shuttle mediation, where both parties are in separate rooms, arrive and depart separately.

What if we Can’t Agree?

Mediation is a successful process, it isn’t easy, often progress is made quite quickly, sometimes it takes a little longer. In a few cases it is not possible to reach agreement. If mediation breaks down, clients always have the option to proceed through legal channels. All financial documentation is transportable. You are free to take this with you, often saving significant legal fees. It’s normal for you both to have different points of view, no one ever comes into mediation in complete agreement with each other!

What if we agree and he/she backtracks afterwards?

This is often the first question that most clients ask. Agreements made in mediation tend to stick because both parties have agreed them as fair and workable options that they are comfortable with. We will discuss what happens if you disagree after mediation and how you both want to handle those disagreements. Procedures to cope with flash points and ground rules are agreed in advance. Clients are advised to return for an emergency session should their agreement need tweaking or updating.

My ex-partner will not be open and honest about their finances?

Full and open financial disclosure is required. If either party does not fully disclose financial information, any agreement will be invalid. If either party has concerns that financial disclosure is incomplete of misleading, their concerns can be aired within the mediation session.

The other party will not show up…

We will contact the other party and all arrangements will be handled through us. The first consultation is on your own and is free for both parties. Mediation is a voluntary process, we usually find most parties are willing to give it a try.

I have child welfare concerns…

Mediation is not suitable when there are child welfare and safety concerns, when Social Services are involved or where one party feels intimidated. Please contact the appropriate authorities if you have concerns about the welfare of a child.

What do I do next?

Taking the first step is never easy. Call us now, you are not committed and it costs nothing to talk. Most people usually experience a huge sense of relief as soon as they have made the first move. Please Call: 0117 330 5703, 07711 115 366 or email info@familymediationbristol.co.uk