Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation

What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is a process for couples who have decided to separate or divorce. It enables them to discuss parenting issues and finances in the presence of a trained and neutral mediator, who can help them consider and decide options for the future. Settlement proposals can be made legally binding when appropriate. Sessions last up to 90 minutes and are confidential and safe.
How much does it cost?
FMIS has a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to provide Legal Aid for Mediation. Our private charges are 115 + VAT (138) per hour per client.
Why do I still need a solicitor if I choose to mediate?
Mediators always suggest that you discuss with your own solicitor any proposals you make, so that you can be confident that they are fair and reasonable. Your solicitor's role will be confined to giving advice, since all the negotiations are carried out in the mediation. The detailed mediation summary is the written outcome of successful negotiations, not part of a legal process, and is therefore not binding. The solicitors may use the summary to create a Consent Order, which can be sent to the court for approval. The order is then binding upon the parties within divorce proceedings.
Can I bring my children with me or involve them in the process?
We would ask you not to bring your children with you to your mediation sessions. It is not appropriate for them to be involved in the mediation session, and we are unable to provide supervision or insurance for them. Your mediator can discuss with you how to talk to the children about the changes that will be happening and help them to understand them. It is important that the children can express their concerns and it is sometimes possible for the children to be seen separately by the mediator and their wishes brought back to the mediation.
Can I bring a friend with me for support?
We are willing for you to bring a friend or adult family member with you to your separate assessment meeting.
I am looking for legal advice at the moment can the mediator advise me?
We suggest that you consult your solicitor since we cannot give you personal individual legal advice. We can, however, answer any questions both parties may have about how the mediation process impacts on your legal proceedings.
How long will it all take?
This is a difficult one to answer, so much depends on each individual situation. We usually estimate between 2 and 4 sessions but sometimes it can be less and sometimes more.
When is mediation available?
Our administrator is available 9.30 a.m.-1.00 p.m. 2.00 p.m.-5.30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Mediation meetings generally take place in office hours but some evening appointments are possible.
Where is mediation available?
Throughout Sussex; in Brighton, Bognor, Chichester, Crawley, Eastbourne, Hastings, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Lewes and Worthing. We also have an outpost in Tunbridge Wells.
What if the other party tries to take over the mediation meeting?
Mediators are skilled at dealing with people in conflict, and will help you to resolve issues even if there is unequal bargaining power between you. It is the responsibility of the mediator to ensure that meetings are structured in a way that provides an environment where you can both feel able to discuss fully your issues and concerns confidentially and in a safe and balanced way. Mediators are aware that imbalances of power between the parties are common and the aim of the process is to reduce these imbalances and the stress they cause, allowing each of you to speak freely. Mediation will not take place if there is a risk of abuse or serious harm.
I now understand more about my situation and the possible outcomes than I did from any other professional body or agency consulted during the divorce process