York FMS

FAQ

Can I See a Mediator alone before Mediation begins?

You will normally be offered a choice of a joint or separate initial assessment meeting with a mediator who will explain the process and help you decide whether mediation is appropriate for you. You will only have a joint initial assessment meeting if both of you choose this option. If that happens the mediator will see each of you separately for a short time before you meet together to check if you are entitled to legal aid for mediation and to make sure you both feel comfortable and safe meeting together.

Can my children have a chance to say what they feel?

Children are not directly involved in the mediation but if there are issues where it is important for the children's views and feelings to be heard mediators can arrange a separate session with the children. Both parents and their mediators need to agree that this would be helpful to the mediation process.

Do the participants in AIM need solicitors?

We recommend that you do instruct a solicitor if you feel that you need independent advice during the mediation. You will also need a solicitor to advise on the financial arrangements you make and to make these arrangements legally binding.

How do I make an appointment?

Ring the office on 01904 792151 between 9.00am and 5.00pm any weekday and speak to the Service Manager. At other times there is an answerphone in operation.

How does AIM work?

AIM is a stage by stage process. You will be given a written Agreement to Mediate and a number of Financial Information Sheets and invited to fill these in ready for the next session. We go through the Financial Information Sheets and ask you to confirm the information by providing supporting paperwork. Once we have the full picture we invite your suggestions about how each aspect could be sorted out and help you to examine every option to see if it is suitable. When you have decided upon the most suitable option we prepare a Memorandum of Understanding recording what has been agreed. At each stage we make sure that everyone in the Mediation understands the information provided and that anything unfamiliar is fully explained.

How does Child Only Mediation work?

At the first mediation session you will each have an opportunity to tell the mediator about the issues which need to be resolved. The mediator will then work with you to plan future arrangements for your children. When you have reached decisions these will normally be recorded with you in a statement of outcome.

How does Mediation work?

You and your partner will meet together with a mediator to help you talk over any problems and reach mutually acceptable arrangements. We proceed on the basis that whatever your differences, if you have children, both of you wish to reach the best solution for your children.

Is AIM confidential?

What you say in mediation is confidential and will not be passed on by the Mediators and may not be used by the participants in any subsequent Court proceedings. The participants may however make use of factual financial information provided during the mediation.

Is Mediation suitable in every case?

Generally if the clients want to mediate then mediation can go ahead. Sometimes domestic violence has been an issue during their relationship. If this is the case and it is no longer a continuing problem mediation can proceed. The client has the right to decide not to mediate; York FMS reserves the right not to offer mediation to unsuitable cases.

Is the Memorandum of Understanding legally binding?

The Memorandum of Understanding is not legally binding. It records your agreed proposals. If you are divorcing it is intended that these agreed proposals will be turned into a consent order to be sent to the court for approval by your solicitors. If you are not divorcing immediately then these agreed proposals can be recorded in a separation agreement by your solicitors.

Our Mediators

Our mediators come from a range of backgrounds. All are professionally trained as mediators by National Family Mediation. They are required to undertake continuing professional development each year and to have regular supervision to meet the NFM standards.

What if an agreement I reached earlier breaks down?

As you and your former partner move forward to build separate lives your family circumstances may well change. One or both of you may have new partners. Children may be born into your new family and your new partner may bring their children into the family. The mediation service can help you resolve any difficulties you may have concerning arrangements for your children at any time after your original separation.

What if I have a Solicitor?

The Mediation Service does not take the place of solicitors. During the mediation process you have the right to obtain independent legal advice if you so wish.

What if there is already a court Case?

We can still help you. We are independent of the court but you may find that the court suggests to you and your partner that you use the Mediation Service to see if you can reach an agreement and avoid arguing in court. The court will normally give you time for mediation. Less time in court means less cost, and also allows you to retain control of your family's future.

What if we are not separated yet?

This can be the most difficult time. Mediation can reduce bitterness and can be the best time to agree on plans before views become fixed and attitudes harden.

What is All Issue Mediation?

All Issue Mediation, or AIM, is mediation which deals with any aspect of the breakdown of a relationship including making plans for children, deciding where family members are going to live, sharing belongings, savings and property, and making sure that each member of the family is provided for. Mediators are trained to help couples make lasting arrangements dealing with these matters.

What is Child Only Mediation?

Child only mediation is mediation which deals with arrangements for children eg where children will live (residence) and how much time they will spend with each parent (contact) and sharing parental responsibility.

What is Property and Finance Mediation?

Property and Finance Mediation is mediation for couples who do not have children or whose children are grown up and no longer financially dependent. The process is the same as in AIM mediation.  

Will you tell the court what we have talked about?

Absolutely not. We shall not reveal what is discussed during mediation nor will it be used as evidence in court proceedings. But if a full agreement is reached, either party, or his/her solicitor, can take this to court. If the court has suggested you come to mediation, we shall only tell the court whether or not an agreement has been reached, and not the details of that agreement.