What We Do
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Family Mediation Overview
MediationMK are family mediators, who are trained to work with couples whose relationships have broken down. Our mediators come from professional backgrounds such as law and healthcare.
If you are separating or divorcing, family mediation can help you sort out disputes without the extra pressure of having to pay big legal fees and going to court.
Mediation is not about trying to get you back together. It’s about helping you both and your children after you have decided to separate
It can also help when you have already separated and need to sort something out between you for example whether it’s about where the children are going to live in the future or your finances. The law says that you must consider whether mediation can help before you can take your case to court.
What happens in mediation?
The first meeting is between you and the mediator, giving you a chance to find out how mediation works. This meeting is called a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting or MIAM for short. The mediator first discusses your financial position and whether or not you can get legal aid. This will mean mediation will be free. Then you have a chance to explain your issues in complete confidence. Mediators are trained to work out whether mediation is right for you and your family and to decide if a joint meeting with your ex-partner would be beneficial. He or she will have their own separate confidential meeting and nothing discussed by either party is disclosed. This session usually takes about an hour.
After the first meeting a joint mediation meeting will be arranged providing both of you are prepared to proceed. In certain circumstances it is possible to have mediation in separate rooms.
You and your ex-partner explain your concerns to each other and what you think needs to happen in the presence of the independent mediator. The mediator can help you both come to an agreement. Mediation puts both of you in control of the outcome rather than a judge imposing their decision on you. When an agreement is reached, your mediator can provide you with a written summary, so everyone is clear about what has been decided. You can ask the court to make the agreement legally binding if both you and your ex-partner agree.
Contact MediationMK when you need help sorting out arrangements. You might be referred to us by a solicitor or come to us through a recommendation but you do not have to see a solicitor first.
We have offices in Central Milton Keynes and Northampton, but it might also be possible in appropriate circumstances to offer you flexible arrangements such as mediation by phone or skype.
Listening to young people
Who is the service for?
Young people aged 6 and upwards whose parents are separating or divorcing.
Why listen to young people?
When young people have information and the opportunity to express their point of view, they are better able to deal with the effects of their parents’ divorce or separation. It can be helpful if this discussion is with someone outside the family, who can listen objectively to what is being said and feed this back to the parents.
When do we involve young people in mediation?
When both parents and the mediator have held a Listening to Young People preparation session and have agreed that involving the children would be beneficial to them and help the parents with the plans that they are making. Parents are normally seen together for the assessment and preparation sessions and for any subsequent feedback meeting, but can be seen separately if required.
How much does it cost?
Parents will be assessed to see if they are eligible for Legal Aid. For those entitled to Legal Aid, there will be no charge, otherwise there is a fixed fee payable for each parent per session. This is £70 plus VAT per person for the initial session and £70 plus VAT per person for the feedback meeting. There is no charge for the children’s sessions.
When young people have information and the opportunity to express their point of view, they are better able to deal with the effects of their parents’ divorce or separation.
What happens at the meeting?
Parents will be assessed to see if they are eligible for Legal Aid. For those entitled to Legal Aid, there will be no charge, otherwise there is a fixed fee
- The young people are invited on their own or with their brothers and sisters for a discussion with a mediator, which may last an hour.
- The young people will not be given advice or counselling at this session.
- The mediators cannot pass on information that the parents have not already discussed with their children. The young people will decide with the mediator what they want to pass on to their parents and how.
- Meetings are confidential unless we are seriously concerned about the risk of harm to anyone, particularly a child.
What happens next?
As soon as possible after this meeting the mediator and parents will meet to discuss the outcome. The young person(s) may wish to be present at this meeting.
Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)
MediationMK delivers the SPIP for Cafcass in Northampton in partnership with Relate Coventry and Warwickshire. This programme -also called a course-is available to people who have been ordered by the court to attend and to couples-not going through the court-who are able to pay privately to go on the course.
Those ordered by the court to attend will have the cost of the course paid for but those who pay for themselves will be offered the course at half the set cost.
The four-hour programme is a one-off session delivered to a mixed group of parents. Separated couples will not attend a course together on the same day..
Who is the programme for?
- Parents who are having difficulty focusing on the needs of the children due to on-going conflict
- Parents who find that their feelings and reactions to the separation are affecting their ability to communicate about the children
- Parents who are preparing for mediation
What’s included in the programme?
- The course takes a look at the divorce and separation process and encourages parents to think about solutions to their problems
- The wants and needs of the children
- How to communicate more effectively
- Understanding the effect that divorce and separation can have on your emotions
- Information and advice to help you move forward after separation and divorce
How can I access this programme?
MediationMK believes that any parent who is either thinking they will take court action or have already resorted to it to resolve difficulties over their children, would benefit from this programme. It helps focus the parents minds on the children, on the positive aspects of their relationship with their child so they can help them adjust to the change and feel less anxious. It also helps parents set aside their own feelings and concentrate on their children’s needs. The course gives tips on how parents can manage their own reactions better and to set out a structure in which, although they are apart, they work together for their children.
If you have already made an application to court or you are responding to one, our partner Relate Coventry and MediationMK are keen to have as many parents as possible referred to go on a SPIP course at the first hearing. If your case is already in court you will first need to contact our SPIP partner Relate Coventry. If you live in the Northamptonshire area they will send your referral through to us to arrange for you to attend a course near you. We will get in touch with you to make those arrangements.
Relate Coventry’s contact details are: SPIP@relatecoventry.org OR call or text 07741 293685
If you have not gone to court and live in the Northampton/ Milton Keynes area and would like to go on a course please contact SPIP@mediationMK.org.uk OR call or text 07379 709285
- Parents who refer themselves to attend a course currently pay £55 each
- Parents can be ordered by the court to attend the SPIP programme
- If you are involved in court proceedings Cafcass is usually asked to advise the court if it is suitable for parents to attend either a SPIP course or mediation
- For couples ordered to attend a course we are required to confirm to Cafcass and the court the parent’s attendance
- We suggest you read the Cafcass Parenting Plan book
Counselling at Mediation MK
Mediation MK is pleased to be offering counselling services in association with Convergence Counselling, an independent specialist counselling organisation working in the same building as us, who can cover relationship issues and all the other issues where people need help. Please call 01908 231293 for details.