Jenny Franklin ¯ Family Mediator
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You are free to come to mediation before, during or after separation or divorce. It does not matter whether or not you have already been in touch with a solicitor.
Before mediation begins I will arrange for you to attend an initial information and assessment meeting. This can be an online meeting if it is difficult for you to attend in person. You will each complete a preliminary information form to provide me with background information and a brief idea of what you wish to discuss in mediation. I will also send you a copy of the mediation agreement which sets out the terms under which the mediation takes place. If for any reason mediation is not possible I can sign the mediation part of your court application to confirm that you have attended a mediation information and assessment meeting ( a MIAM).
The mediation sessions are held in calm and comfortable surroundings in St. Albans, Hatfield or Watford. At the first session I will help you to identify all the issues to be considered and to look at what you both hope to achieve. I will help you gather the information you need for informed decision-making.
If there are financial issues you will each need to provide full information about your financial affairs and I can help you to do this. Once the information is collected, I will normally draw up a financial summary for you both.
I will then help you to explore possible options based on your family’s particular circumstances and needs and to test how they will work in practice. I may be able to suggest possible solutions that you have not thought about. Throughout the mediation process I will ensure that you each have an equal opportunity to speak and to be heard. Discussions are informal, but I will ensure that they are kept on track and as civilised and constructive as possible. In certain circumstances I may discuss with you whether it would be helpful to invite your children to a separate meeting with me so that they have an opportunity to express their views.
There will normally be a series of sessions at regular intervals – the number will depend on you and the number of issues to be dealt with. If there are issues relating both to children and to financial matters, five or six sessions are not uncommon. It is up to you both to decide at the end of each session whether you wish to meet again. Mediation is usually much quicker and cheaper than going to court.
Once firm proposals are reached I will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding recording the terms, which your solicitor will usually draw up into a legally binding agreement.
Mediation works best when each person also has independent legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your solicitor during the mediation process and in particular when settlement proposals are being discussed.
Mediation is a voluntary process and either of you is free to leave mediation at any time if you so choose. Even if this happens you will often find that much progress has been made towards finding a solution.