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Mediation in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Dronfield and Mansfield

If you want to divorce or separate from your partner, mediation will often be recommended to you as a first step.

We can recommend local mediators who can help you to resolve these issues. Meeting with an impartial mediator means that you can discuss and agree solutions in a friendly, neutral setting away from the pressure and strain of court proceedings.

Mediation can help you resolve issues and make important decisions in a friendly and civil environment.

  • Arrangements for the care of your children
  • Financial arrangements
  • Dividing up your property and other shared assets
  • Your separation or divorce
  • How you and your partner will communicate in future
  • Any other related issues

The role of mediators

Mediators are experienced in dealing with complicated situations and helping clients find the best solutions in the interest of the whole family.

They also work closely with other professionals such as local solicitors, financial advisors and accountants as well as other experienced local mediators. This way, mediation can offer a comprehensive service to our clients. Mediation is available to anyone whether you are married or not, have children or not.

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Common Mediation Questions

How long does Mediation take?

This depends on the complexity of the case and on the parties' willingness to reach an agreement.It usually takes place over half or full day sessions, and very often a ‘Mediation Settlement Agreement’ is agreed in one or two meetings.

If I make any payments to my spouse whilst separated will this affect the final settlement?

Usually no, it may not be wise to make excessively large payments to your spouse as this might be argued that this shows both their needs for such payments and your ability to pay. Any financial settlement should be taken into account the longer term history of the marriage and any future financial prospects.

If your spouse does not need maintenance whilst separated it would be sensible to provide it.  If you fail to provide it, this may cause your spouse to be hostile towards you. Your spouse may apply to the court for an interim financial order this requires you to pay an appropriate level of maintenance. Both of these are likely to increase the hostility in reaching a final agreement.  

What’s the difference between getting a divorce and a separation? Which one is best?

A separation is if you walk out on your spouse or you agree to separate, however no formal legal action is taken. It is a good idea though to come to an agreement on issues like who will take care of any children and what the financial agreements will be and set these out in a separation agreement.

You will also need to consider what will happen to your family home. If you own it jointly with your spouse this means if one of you dies their share will go to the other and if you decide to sell you jointly own any proceeds.

If you are wanting a separation you can get a solicitor to draft a document that will create 2 different shares in the property, this means if one of you dies you are able to pass on your shares to an heir. You will each be entitled to a specific proportion of the proceeds if you sell.

You need to agree a share that each of you will have. If you contributed equally when you bought the home and have contributed equally since you will probably share 50:50. If one of you have put more money in you can ask a solicitor to draw up a document which states this.

If you later decide you want a divorce on grounds of separation it will not matter whether you have separated formally or informally.

The main terms of the divorce can be negotiated between both of you however a divorce does also include the court. This has several important differences:

  • You can only get a divorce if you can satisfy the court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
  • If you get a divorce the marriage is over whereas a separation can be temporary.
  • The terms of a divorce can be ratified by the court, this means it is unlikely either of you will be able to change them at any point in the future.

There is also the third option of a judicial separation, this option is very rare. You would still remain married but ask the court to recognise your separation formally. This means that you can apply to the court for orders dealing with financial and property issues. The process is similar to that of a divorce however it is used as an alternative if a spouse has a religious or moral objection to divorce.

The option which you choose will depend upon your circumstances. If you are not sure if the marriage has broken down a separation may be the best option. If you want to remarry however you will need to get a divorce.  

Where does the Mediation take place?

Mediation can take place wherever you would like, however, we recommend a neutral location such as one of our offices.

Who does not need to attend Mediation?

There are some exceptions, and you will generally not need to attend a MIAM if any of the following apply:

  • There is relevant evidence of domestic abuse or violence
  • You or your former partner are in prison and cannot attend a MIAM remotely by video call
  • There are police bail conditions preventing contact between you and your former partner
  • The Court application must be made urgently for example, because there is an immediate risk to the life, liberty or physical safety of you or your family, or if the Court application is required urgently to prevent disposal of a marital asset
  • You have already attended a MIAM in the last 4 months
  • You have a disability preventing you from attending a MIAM remotely by video call
  • You have contacted at least 5 mediators within a 15 mile radius and none can offer a MIAM appointment remotely or in person within 15 working days

If you are unsure whether you need to attend a MIAM or not, please make an appointment to speak with one of our Family Law Specialists who can advise as to whether any of the MIAM exemptions apply in your case.

What is the Mediation process?
  1. If you have both attended MIAM appointments individually, and the mediator decides that mediation is appropriate for your case, then further joint mediation appointments will be fixed.
  2. At these appointments the mediator will make a much more detailed assessment of your case. The mediator will help both of you to work out what issues need to be dealt with, and will ensure that both parties have the opportunity to speak and be heard.  The mediator may ask for documentary information from the parties and may direct parties to seek independent legal advice depending on what issues arise during the joint sessions.
  3. The mediator will take the views of both you and your (ex)partner and help you to try to put together an agreement.
  4. If an agreement is drawn up at mediation, this is not automatically legally binding. You should seek advice from a Family Law Specialist to determine whether the agreement can be drafted into a Court Order to make the agreement legally binding.
  5. If you have changed your mind regarding the agreement reached at mediation, or there has been a change in circumstances since the agreement was reached, you should seek legal advice from a Family Law Specialist who can advise as to the options available to you.
What does Mediation cost?

The Cost of Mediation will be explained to you by the mediator.  You may wish to make enquiries with more than one mediation organisation to compare their fees, timescales and terms of service.

The mediator will assess if you may be eligible for funding from the Legal Aid Agency if you receive certain benefits or are on a low income. Funding for mediation can still be available from the Legal Aid Agency even though it may not be available for solicitors’ legal advice and fees, as the eligibility requirements are different.  If you are unsure whether you may qualify for funding you should discuss this with the mediator.

What are the benefits of Mediation?

According to the Family Mediation Council the benefits of mediation include:

  • Is less stressful and far quicker than going to court
  • It is cheaper than lengthy court proceedings
  • Helps you make arrangements over parenting, property and money
  • Allows you to keep more control of your family’s future, and helps you put your child’s interests first
  • Helps you all move on quickly to the next stage of your lives
  • Is a process which works, with agreement reached in over 70% of cases.
Can I speak to a solicitor before Mediation takes place?

Yes, mediation is not a substitute for seeking legal advice.  You are entitled to seek your own independent legal advice either before, during or after the mediation process has concluded.  It is important that you are always given the opportunity to seek your own independent legal advice between each mediation session and before making any final decisions. 

If you are unsure how to start to resolve any issues arising out of your divorce or separation, then please make an appointment with one of our Family Law Specialists who will be able to assist.

Mediation was an extremely easy process to follow. After years of dealing with other firms of solicitors, and protracted correspondence, a resolution was come to after 4 sessions. My mediator was unbiased but sympathetic.

Ms B, Heanor

I felt much better talking things through and would recommend mediation.

Mrs B, Bolsover

I was very satisfied with the mediation. It helped me to understand and clarify the issues and reach an agreeable outcome. Thank you!

Mrs B, Forest Town

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We take data privacy very seriously, and we want you to understand and feel confident about how we collect, store and handle your personal data. If you’d like to find out more you can read our Privacy Policy.