We have provided some useful questions and answers below specific to each service we offer, to provide you with more of an insight as to what the process might entail, how it will support you or to provide some re-assurance if you are feeling unsure or sceptical about the impact utilising one of our services might have.

If you still have some questions once you have read the extra information provided please call us. We will be more than happy to help you.

‘‘Why do people come to family mediation?’’

Ex-partner’s or those who have children together, usually attend a family mediation service to discuss and agree the following issues:

Child arrangements – i.e. when either parent sees the children and has them overnight this can also include arrangements in the school holidays and taking the child/ children on holiday.

Child Maintenance – How much either parent, where applicable, pay’s towards their child / children. Child Maintenance should always be paid regardless of whether the parent has seen their child and they shouldn’t also be restricted from seeing their child if they have not paid.

Divorce and Separation – For information about how to move forward.

Division of assets and finances – We usually take a look at monies incoming, expenditure and assets to find a way that both parties can live financially independent lives.

Communication – This is a massive issue for most couples whether they are attending mediation because of child issues or divorce and separation. In most instances the lack of communication is what has caused the break-up of the relationship.

Accountability for what has happened in the relationship – A lot of ex-partners attend mediation with the vision that mediation is about what has happened in the past in the relationship. Although this can be touched on where relevant to the future relationship, it is not the main reason people should use mediation. Our Family Mediators are there to support couples who have already separated/divorced or those who are about to separate/ divorce, in relation to the children, finances and assets.

‘‘What is the role of a family mediator?’’

The mediator’s role is to help bring ex-partners who are in a dispute, closer to a resolution to issues surrounding their separation. Through impartiality, not disclosing their opinion, not providing advice and only providing information, they are able to remain balanced and support separating couples to move forward. Our Family Mediators are highly trained and regulated (by the Family Mediation Council) to ensure they are providing you with the correct information and a well-rounded customer focused service.

If you would like to speak to a family mediator please schedule your free call.

‘‘What qualifications do family mediators have?”

Our Family Mediators have completed foundation training and subsequent family mediation specialism training. They have then completed a portfolio, which then accredits them by the Family Mediation Council. The Family Mediation Council have a database published on their website which includes all family mediators, working towards accreditation or accredited. If your family mediator is not on this list, they are not trained to provide mediation or for example sign MIAM Certificates where appropriate.

‘‘My ex-partner doesn’t want to attend mediation. What should I do?’’

If your ex-partner does not want to attend mediation, unfortunately they don’t have to come. The mediator however, will explain to your ex-partner the likelihood of the court (if issues continue into a court application) referring your case to mediation once an application has been made. They will provide your ex-partner with all the information to help them make an informed decision.

The options available to you are:

  • Leave the issue
  • Wait and invite your ex-partner to mediation at a later date
  • Discuss the issues between yourselves
  • Make an application to the court once you have attended a MIAM (this is so the mediator can provide you with a MIAM Certificate to enable the court application)
  • Seek another method of resolution
  • Engage solicitors who will contact your ex-partner on your behalf.

‘‘Do I have to attend the mediation session with my ex-partner?’’

In most instances, the mediator would encourage you and your ex-partner to be in the same room as each other. The reason being, is that this encourages you to talk to each other, express and share opinions which all help you both to discuss potential remedies. When ex-partners attend mediation, in what we name Shuttle Mediation, not only are the sessions longer as the mediator has to mediate from room to room, but this also means that it takes longer to reach a mutual agreement. Shuttle mediation is usually only used in special circumstances which the mediator would discuss with you.

To discuss your case with the mediator book your Mediation Information Assessment Meeting.

‘‘What if me and my ex-partner don’t agree?’’

The mediator is there to encourage discussion between you and your ex-partner, so don’t be too concerned if you don’t agree on certain points. The mediator will help you both to explore all of the options and even help you to generate ideas you may not have considered. Our family mediators are trained to facilitate difficult conversations where parties don’t agree.

‘‘What can I do if my ex-partner breaks an agreement we made in mediation?’’

  1. You can revisit mediation and try to work out why the agreement has been broken and ways that it can work in the future, or
  2. You can ask your mediator for a MIAM Certificate, which you will need to make an application to the court. The mediator will ask you to update them on the reason you would like a MIAM Certificate, or
  3. You can communicate with your ex-partner about the issue and attempt to resolve it between yourselves.

‘‘Can my new partner attend family mediation with me?’’

Usually it would only be you and the mediator at your first meeting, which is also known as a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting, however this can be discussed with the mediator. Because you and your ex-partner are trying to reach a mutual agreement, it is not beneficial to have new partners present during the mediation session, as it can prevent you and your ex-partner from reaching an agreement and could potentially cause tension. If you are concerned about attending a joint meeting with your ex-partner you could raise this with your mediator and they will explore shuttle mediation, where you and your ex-partner would be in separate rooms.

‘‘Can grandparents attend family mediation?’’

The quick answer is yes grandparents can attend family mediation. Although family mediation is usually for ex-partners who are seeking support in relation to divorce and separation, grandparent’s needing to use mediation, can be the result of a divorce or separation.

Grandparents can attend family mediation for a number of reasons including:

  • Establishing seeing their grandchild/grandchildren
  • Having concerns about their grandchild/grandchildren’s welfare & wellbeing
  • Trying to re-establish communication between their grandchild/grandchildren’s parent/s.

‘‘Am I entitled to legal aid, as I only work a very small amount of hours’’

There is a possibility that you may be eligible, however the legal aid limits are very strict. Other things are taken into account when a legal aid assessment is completed.

They include:

  • Assets
  • Property
  • Savings
  • Any money that is incoming with the exception of DLA/PIP

In order for the mediator to be fully accurate about your legal aid entitlement you need to be full and frank about the money you have incoming and outgoing.

‘‘How does mediation work in terms of the court process?’’

Although mediation is not legally binding, you can take your Memorandum of Understanding/Parenting Plan to a solicitor to make it legally binding. Some ex-partners however, do decide that they want to make an application to the court after mediation. In our experience in most family mediation cases ex-partners come to agreements without the need for court.

If you do decide that you want to make an application to the court, the court can refuse your application if family mediation hasn’t been considered.

If you and your ex-partner want a divorce, you will need petition for a divorce. Family mediation does not have the authority to grant a divorce. Family mediation however, can be used no matter what stage you are at in legal proceedings.

”What is the Ministry of Justice Family Mediation Voucher Scheme?” 

The Ministry of Justice created the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme in March 2021 to support people who wanted to utilise family mediation to resolve a dispute about child arrangements. The scheme can provide each case with up to £500.00 towards mediation sessions.
We are currently unaware of how long the family mediation voucher scheme will be active. If you want to know whether you are eligible, you will first need a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. Please visit our Family Mediation page for more information.
The family mediators who can provide the voucher scheme must be accredited by The Family Mediation Council.
It is now a court requirement that you first attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting, also known as a MIAM before you can apply to court. The Ministry of Justice created the family mediation voucher scheme to relieve the courts of child arrangements cases that could be resolved through family mediation. 

”What does the Ministry of Justice Family Mediation Voucher Scheme cover?”

With Access Mediation Services, the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme provides one 2 hour mediation session free of charge for child arrangement cases.
Unfortunately, the voucher scheme cannot pay for financial issues (except for child maintenance). 

”How do I know if I am eligible for the family mediation voucher scheme?” 

  • Your MIAMs must have occurred on the 26th of March 2021 or after 
  • Your issues for mediation should be about child arrangements
  • Your case must be deemed suitable by the mediator for mediation.
The scheme is available for all clients as long as the above requirements are met. The Family mediation voucher scheme eligibility is not based on income. 

‘‘What types of issues can be discussed in civil and commercial mediation?’’

When people are in a dispute there are usually multiple reasons for it. It could be that you are in a dispute with:

  • Your neighbour about property boundaries,
  • A service provider or a customer
  • Another business who have provided a service to your business
  • Discrimination
  • Negligence

Most issues can be discussed in mediation, so it is worthwhile discussing all of the issues you feel are causing the dispute with the mediator.

‘‘Will the mediator explain who is right and who is wrong in the disagreement?’’ 

The mediator will not explain who is right and wrong in the dispute. They are there to support all parties in making positive progression in discussion. They do this by ensuring the process is fair, that all parties involved can speak openly and that all parties share equal control over the outcome. The mediator will not under any circumstances provide their opinion or rationale, they can however provide information.

To schedule a call with one of our mediators click here.

‘‘Where will mediation take place?’’

The venue that will be used for mediation is dependent on the issues for mediation:

If it is a civil dispute a service provider may provide a location or pay for one.

In a neighbour dispute usually, a suitable venue will be found by the mediator but paid for by the clients.

‘‘In a civil and commercial dispute who pays for mediation?’’

The answer to this is dependent on the dispute and your current situation. Most parties split the costs equally, but in some cases one party may choose to pay most or all of the cost. This can be for a number of reasons including but not limited to: speedy resolution, as a goodwill gesture, one party feels obligated too. This arrangement is to be decided by all parties. The mediator can support with this conversation.

‘‘Who will be in the mediation?’’

Those who will be in attendance at the mediation will be the relvent parties who are involved in the dispute, the mediator and if appropriate the mediator’s personal assistant.

In most cases there can be anywhere between 2-6 people involved in the dispute. All of our mediators are trained to carry out high conflict mediation and also have many years of experience of mediating amongst large groups, so if there are more than 6 parties the mediator will be well equipped.

For those who may be representing you for example solicitor, we usually do not allow them to attend. The main reason being that they can limit the effectiveness of mediation and the probability of a resolution being reached. This however can be discussed with the mediator but must be agreed by them and all of the parties involved.

In relation to advocates or support, usually the mediator would allow these to be present in the mediation when the person involved has a disability. In all instances this would have to be agreed by the mediator.

‘‘How long does mediation last?’’ 

Usually in civil & commercial disputes, individual sessions (usually one per party) are up to 60 minutes each and the mediation session is usually 180 minutes. The mediator normally carries out the individual sessions and joint session on the same day, but the timings of these sessions can be flexible. The mediator will discuss the option of going over the scheduled time as this may be an option if your dispute is particularly complex.

To speak to one of our civil & commercial mediators please schedule your free call.

‘‘What is mediation and how does it work?’’

Mediation is a voluntary, self-determined process for resolving all types of disputes. Most workplace disputes can be resolved in mediation.

Mediation consists of each party having a one on one meeting with the mediator. In this meeting the mediator and the party discuss mediation, what it is and how it can be used and what issues they would like to discuss. Then both parties and the mediator come together and have open and honest discussions about the issue or issues at hand.

‘‘Do I have to attend workplace mediation?’’

No, you do not have to attend mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process that enables you to decide whether or not you feel mediation is a suitable method to resolve your dispute.

To find out more information about workplace mediation book your free consultation here.

‘‘What issues do people usually bring to workplace mediation?’’ 

There are a variety of reasons why people seek out the help of a mediator when in dispute in the workplace.

  • Sometimes colleagues have different personalities and can clash
  • There may be an employee returning to work
  • There may be a disagreement between an employer and employee
  • A disagreement arises amongst senior managers
  • Allegations of bullying and or harassment

No matter what your dispute is or at what level of seniority you are within the workplace, our mediators are trained and experience in supporting a range of issues in mediation.

‘‘Who pays for workplace mediation?’’

The workplace usually pays the full cost for the parties of mediation regardless of whether they are senior management or team members.

‘‘Where does workplace mediation take place?’’

The workplace usually provides a room for the mediation for convenience and to also reduce the costs, or they cover the costs for an external venue. This is a decision that must be made by both the employee/colleague, the workplace and the mediator.

In all instances accessible venues should be sought first to ensure everybody has access to the building regardless of whether they have notified you of a disability or not.

‘‘Will you tell the employer about what I have said in mediation?’’

In the instance where you are not attending mediation with your employer, then no whatever you say in mediation and in your one to one meeting will not be relayed onto the employer, without your agreement. The employer can only receive a report with the agreement of all parties.

In the instance where you are attending mediation with your employer it is up to you to raise the issues you want to discuss, the mediator cannot do it for you. The mediator will also not disclose what you have said in your one to one meeting.

To speak to a workplace mediator about your case please schedule your free consultation.

‘‘Why do people go to disability mediation?’’

Usually a person who has a disability raises a dispute and feels mediation would be the correct place to resolve it. It could be for a number of reasons including reasonable adjustments, bullying, harassment, accessibility or just to develop and understanding of issues faced in day to day life i.e. at work or accessing a service. Not only can an individual initiate mediation, but service providers, workplaces and businesses can too.

‘‘Who pays for disability mediation?’’

If it is a service provider and an individual attending mediation, we usually find that the service provider pays the full cost for mediation, however sometimes the cost is shared.

In a workplace dispute in regard to disability, the workplace would usually pay.

Just to note it is for those in dispute to discuss and agree who is paying the cost. The cost of a disability dispute can be complex but don’t hesitate to ask your mediator.

‘‘What qualifications do disability mediators have?’’

Our disability mediators have a foundation mediation qualification, professional expertise in disability and also hold a qualification in Equality and Diversity.

Access Mediation Services’s Mediators have also worked with the College of Mediators to create the standards for disability mediation, which are the only standards of their kind in the UK. We still work with the College of Mediators to ensure that we provide mediation of the highest standard.

‘‘Will the mediation be accessible?’’

Yes, the mediation will be accessible. Our disability mediators are trained to understand accessibility for people with disabilities and also have experience and expertise within the disability sector.

To speak to one of our disability mediators about your requirements in mediation please click here.

‘‘Where will the mediation be held?’’

The venue where mediation will be held will be mutual for both parties unless for example it is a neighbour dispute and the mediator is going from house to house or where it is a business to business dispute and one party are willing to provide a venue with the agreement of the other party. In all instances we will do our best to ensure the venue is accessible.

‘‘How can disability mediation support my business, as I have a dispute with a customer and it involves their disability?’’

Well not only can disability mediation resolve the conflict and repair the relationship if it is an on-ongoing relationship, but it also ensures best practice surrounding the Equality Act 2010 and can reduce the risk of negative publicity.

‘‘I am really nervous about attending the joint mediation session. What should I do?’’

Being in a dispute with someone is not easy especially when you are struggling to communicate with each other. It is also normal for people to feel nervous before a joint session and it is for the mediator to put you at ease. Remember they are there to ensure that conflict doesn’t become to inflammatory and aggressive but above all they are also there to keep all parties including themselves safe.

The mediator is skilled to create a safe space to allow you to share your thoughts and opinions to those you are in dispute with, they will also set ground rules at the beginning so all parties are clear on what the boundaries are they include respect, one person to talk at a time just for example.

To speak to one of our disability mediators for further information please schedule a free call.