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FAQs

Progressive Mediation Frequently Asked Questions

How does the mediation process work?

The mediation process can work in various ways. Typically it involves joint sessions in which you meet face-to-face with the mediators. Mediators will help you to draw up an agenda of what you need to sort out; typically how to deal with the family home, a fair division of the assets, how to deal with any debts, financial support, especially for the children and the children’s living arrangements. In mediation you will be helped to consider the available options in ways which are sensible, realistic, workable and fair.

Read more about the mediation process here.

How much will mediation cost?

We charge £57 per person per hour, for mediation sessions. Our sessions are normally for one hour. Most couples require three or four sessions. After each session you will receive a summary of the discussion and any proposals. We also prepare documents; an Open Financial Statement at £30-£50 per person and a Memorandum of Understanding at a cost of £30 each per person. So the total cost of mediation with Progressive Mediation is likely to between to be between £400 and £600. If you are well prepared, willing to work together openly and compromise on realistic solutions the costs will be less. If your affairs are complex, or if you allow angry emotions to delay agreement the costs could be greater.  When you divorce or separate important decisions with lifelong consequences have to be made.  Investment in mediation sessions facilitated by professional, impartial, experienced mediators is a significant cost at a time when there are likely to be significant demands on your budget.  But an amicably agreed resolution of issues that can so easily become bitterly and expensively disputed for years is priceless.

See our Costs Page for further details.

Do you accept legal aid for mediation?

At Progressive Mediation we do offer legally aided mediation and we can advise on eligibility – click here to see if you or your partner are eligible. If one-party is eligible for legal aid and the other is not it can be very cost-effective to use Progressive Mediation. We can discuss this with you at our initial (free) individual meeting. To read more about our legal aid service click here.

How many mediation sessions will we need?

If you are well prepared for mediation and both willing to be open and honest, to be realistic and to compromise you can expect to bring your mediation to a satisfactory conclusion in two or three sessions. Anger and acrimony are likely to delay achieving any agreement or settlement as will complicated financial affairs and sharply conflicting views of your children’s best interests. In difficult cases we recommend that you consider our ‘therapeutic mediation’  option, in which we offer 5 sessions for the price of 4.

What can be discussed in mediation?

In mediation we start from the premise that the marriage or conjugal relationship is over. In that case it is necessary to work out how best to deal with the consequences. That is the subject matter of discussion in mediation. It can include:

  • How to manage the separation dealing with issues such as who remains in the family home and how the children are informed.
  • The children’s living arrangements; i.e. the times they spend with each parent.
  • A fair division of assets, including any equity in the family home, savings, pensions, vehicles.
  •  How ongoing expenses, in particular children’s expenses can be met.
  •  How to manage necessary communication, particularly about the children in future.
  • How to make decisions about the children in the future.
Is the service 100% confidential?

Progressive Mediation is registered under the Data Protection Act and will not disclose any personal information without your consent.  We belong to professional organisations, Resolution and the College of Mediators, which support the regulation of family mediation by the Family Mediation Council, whose code of practice upholds the principle of confidentiality in mediation.

Our initial individual interview is strictly confidential:  information disclosed to us will not be disclosed to your ex-partner without your consent. Discussions in mediation are confidential and ‘without prejudice.’  Such discussions, and records of them, cannot therefore be used in court proceedings.

There are some provisos. Mediators are obliged, should they become aware of harm or risk of harm to a child, to report the matter to the relevant authority.  An ‘Open Financial Statement’ prepared in mediation may be used in court as evidence of the full and frank disclosure of relevant financial information required for the divorce process.

What happens if the other person is unwilling to attend?

Mediation is a voluntary process. As mediators we will do all we can to encourage both parties to come to the mediation table. If the other party is reluctant to attend we will discuss with you how best to address this:  we can write, phone or email and invite them to a free, individual, confidential meeting with us.

We believe that mediation is better suited to the effective resolution of most family disputes than litigation or other approaches. The voluntary nature of mediation is an important source of its strength. People are more likely to support agreements reached voluntarily than those imposed on them.

But no one, neither us as mediators, nor the government, nor the courts can oblige anyone to attend mediation against their will. We would never be party to any kind of coercion.

Do I need a recording for legal purposes?

If you want to make an application to the court in respect of children or for a financial remedy in divorce you may need to show that you have considered trying mediation. At Progressive Mediation we are authorised to issue the Court Service form FM1 which the court requires you to submit with your application to prove that you have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). At Progressive Mediation we do not charge for ‘MIAM’s. We do charge £20 to issue a form FM1.
Discussions in mediation are confidential and without prejudice. These, and any documents relating to them cannot be used for legal purposes.

What if the mediation fails and no resolution is reached?

In divorce cases involving finances the first stage of any resolution is ‘the full and frank disclosure of relevant financial information.’ This is required by the courts in cases involving divorce. It sets out the relevant facts: the values of the house, any pensions, savings, vehicles etc. Unless one of you is determined to be dishonest it is usually cost-effective to complete this stage in mediation rather than by way of negotiation through solicitors or litigation.

Mediation will fail if:

  • You cannot agree on how to divide the assets.
  • You cannot agree in respect of ongoing maintenance.
  • You cannot agree on the children’s living arrangements.

But if you have completed the financial disclosure it should be possible to use this information to negotiate through solicitors, or in court proceedings.

Although discussions in mediation cannot be used in litigation, having met in mediation you will both be aware of exactly what it is that is preventing your reaching agreement.

We therefore think it is worth your while spending some of your time and money on mediation before committing yourself to much more costly actions involving solicitors and courts in the dispute resolution process.

Where will the meeting take place?

Our costs are low because we work from home. We have a dedicated mediation room available in our house in St Andrews, Bristol where you can sit around the table with us in reasonable comfort, without distraction, and focus on the issues you need to resolve. A second room can be made available for cases in which a couple do not want to be in the same room (‘shuttle mediation’).

Parking is available outside our home and we are accessible by public transport, (buses 70, 73, 75, 76), Montpelier Railway Station.

We do, of course, have toilet facilities available.

Unfortunately our Victorian home is not particularly accessible for people with disabilities. If your disability prevents access to our facilities we will arrange to meet you at an accessible venue, for example The Vassall Centre in Fishponds, at no additional charge.

What happens if the other party is not local?

At Progressive Mediation we offer appointments at your convenience, including weekends and evenings. Usually at least one of our clients is local – from in or around Bristol. If the other party is not local, it is likely that they will visit Bristol from time to time, for example to spend time with children. We will endeavour to organise mediation so that the party who has to travel can combine the mediation with seeing the children or other things.

In some cases Bristol may be a convenient midpoint – when one client lives in Devon or Cornwall and the other in London or the Midlands – for example.  Our preference in mediation is for face-to-face meetings, but we are able to use telephone conference calls, Skype and email to facilitate communication over distance when necessary.

We have also written a blog with further FAQs which you may find to be helpful: Further Mediation FAQs.

Alternatively please call Frances or Charles on 0117 924 3880 for further help.

Focus on your future