WHO PAYS FOR MEDIATION EXPENSES?

WHO PAYS FOR MEDIATION EXPENSES?

You may be qualified for legal aid for family mediation if you are on certain benefits, have a low income, and do not have a lot of money or assets.

If you are qualified for legal aid, an accredited family mediator will assess you for it, and if you are, your mediation will be free, as will the opposing party’s initial meeting and the first joint mediation session. If they are not eligible for legal aid, they only need to begin paying for subsequent mediation session after the first.

If you’re looking for a mediation service and believe you could be qualified for legal aid, this is something to think about. Using the Family Mediation Council’s search, you can locate a nearby mediator.

But, and if you’re not legally qualified, who should pay for the mediation, and how can it work in a time of scarcity?

Most mediation firms will quote their prices per person per hour or session. This is due to the fact that, in most situations, each party will be responsible for their own payments for the duration of the service. It thus follows that each party has a vested interest in moving things forward and reaching an agreement.

Some couples will agree that the costs of mediation will be deducted from a joint account or savings, or that one party will pay in advance and then the costs will be split as part of the overall financial agreement.

What if one of the parties is unable or unwilling to pay? The other party has three options in such cases:

• Maintain the current situation or attempt to fix it amongst themselves

• File an order with the family court.

Going to court with representation by a lawyer or barrister is likely to be significantly more expensive than the entire cost of family mediation, and it will typically take much longer as well. As a result, before going to court, you should carefully consider your options.

If you do not wish to pay the whole cost of the mediation, you must have explored mediation with an MIAM. These can be completed online, and Fixed Price Divorce offers an expedited route for individuals who prefer to go straight to court.

In some circumstances, consumers believe that the costs should be borne by the other party since they are to fault or are causing the problem to worsen. However, just as a court will not seek to punish or reward behaviour throughout a relationship, the mediation service cannot require one party to pay. Mediation is unlikely to occur if you cannot agree on who will bear the costs.

According to the FMC poll, the average cost of family mediation is £140 per person per hour in 2019. (including VAT). The majority of mediators charge an hourly price given from £250 to £400. (excluding VAT). If you wind up going to court for just a financial concern, you will be billed upwards of £20,000 plus VAT if you require representation – something you should always consider if going to court.

Fixed Price Divorce consistently assists clients in reaching an agreement in 90 percent of cases – so you have a strong chance of settling the matter through mediation, even if you pay the entire cost yourself. Furthermore, typically clients require 2-3 joint sessions to achieve an agreement on a parenting or financial concern — making it a significantly less expensive and faster alternative to going to court.

The judge referred one couple to us in desperation since their legal fees totaled more than £230,000! It was a complex case that took longer than usual, but we were able to help them achieve an agreement in six joint sessions for slightly over £1,000 each. My best suggestion is to try mediation firstly, share expenses if possible, and negotiate the cost of mediation appointments as part of the mediation process. In either case, you will typically save thousands of pounds.”

WHO PAYS THE MEDIATION FEES? – A CASE STUDY

Following Martin’s decision to leave the marriage, the couple sought family mediation. Martin had left Mai for another woman and was now cohabiting with her, thus it was a high-conflict situation. Mai felt financially responsible for her children, despite the fact that they were all over the age of 18.

Mai stated that she would attend family mediation only if Martin paid, which Martin originally refused. Martin decided to seek a pecuniary order through his local family court, but first he had to attend an MIAM. By participating in the MIAM, he decided that we should write to Mai and formally invite her to mediate their divorce arrangement. She stated that she would pay for her first visit, but Martin would be responsible for any collaborative mediation sessions. Martin agreed grudgingly.

They were able to complete a thorough financial disclosure but struggled to put the divorce circumstances aside, and they both battled to reach an agreement. They did, however, agree to have the case reviewed by a barrister. This cost them £499 apiece, and they received a comprehensive report and legal opinion on what they should do and the expected outcome if they went to court. When they received the report, they both accepted the barrister’s recommendation in its entirety and packaged it into one of the fixed-fee divorce packages.

The total cost to them was slightly more than £2,000 for mediation, paperwork, a barrister review, divorce, and consent order, as well as a solicitor to manage the entire process. They’d each been charged £5,000 to £10,000 just to get to the first hearing for the money dispute in court – and that didn’t include the additional work to manage the divorce and file the consent order.

The clients were overjoyed because they could not only move on with their lives faster, but they also had at least £20,000 extra in their bank accounts to spend on themselves post-divorce. All because Mai agreed to pay for her MIAM and Martin agreed to pay for their first combined mediation session.

WHEN IS FAMILY MEDIATION REQUIRED?

WHEN IS FAMILY MEDIATION REQUIRED?

A divorce or separation may be a very complicated situation in which several new plans must be made for all involved. Family mediation is a mechanism that, instead of going to court, provides you with a neutral and competent mediator to assist you in reaching an understanding that works for both of you.

When a marriage or partnership fails, there are some steps a couple can take before splitting up. Examples include wealth division, child custody agreements, and coping with more complex issues such as land or pensions. If you are unable to reach an agreement on these matters, family mediation is an excellent option because it helps you all to have a say in the outcome. It also means that the agreement is achieved faster, less expensively, and with less hassle than going to court or arguing between solicitors.

In this article, we’ll talk about family mediation and when you may need to use it.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A FAMILY MEDIATOR?

Family mediation is a supervised mechanism that assists you in focusing on the problems that need to be addressed and, eventually, in moving on with your lives. It is not a time to look back on the relationship or assign blame.

Fixed Price Divorce Service adheres to a tried-and-true form of dispute settlement that focuses on reaching an agreement. We call it “progressive mediation,” and it is the reason why we assist 90 percent of our clients in reaching a settlement, compared to the national average of just 70 percent.

We first consult with each of you individually before devising a strategy for your joint mediation sessions.

The mediation process allows you to take the time and space you need to think about what is most important for your children and the rest of your family. You can describe child arrangements that meet everyone’s needs now and in the future in a more relaxed and rational setting, with the help of a professional mediator. We also assist you in reaching an agreement on where you will both live, a reasonable division of your accounts, what could happen to your pensions, and any ongoing payments between you. Finally, we ensure that all properties are divided as cheaply as possible. Through our fixed-fee legal packages, all agreements concluded can be made legally binding.

WHEN DO I NEED FAMILY MEDIATION?

Family mediation may be beneficial at any point of a divorce or separation. If you want to go to court, you must first consider mediation in most cases before applying to the court. However, several people feel that if they can initiate the mediation process, they are more likely to reach an agreement. It doesn’t even have to be in the same space for it to function. We may also assist with online mediation, which allows you to resolve all of your parenting, financial, and property problems from the comfort of your own home.

A court proceeding mediated by a mediator to resolve your financial issues would cost each of you more than £20,000 each. It will also require three separate court appearances which will take an average of 11.5 months to complete. A court case can build a hostile and toxic environment that can take years to settle. Under the oversight and direction of a vastly experienced and competent skilled mediator, family mediation offers a forum to reach an agreement that benefits everyone involved.

WHY DO YOU CHOOSE US?

Fixed Price Divorce Service started as a small home-based startup and has since grown into a company that assists clients from all over England and Wales through our network of branches or our ground-breaking online mediation services. Our primary aim is to provide an effective and equitable solution for people in need of legal dispute resolution. Not only that, but we also provide a variety of services that help you to avoid paying exorbitant legal fees, such as fixed-fee legal advice.

If you decide that family mediation is the best option for your situation, the first move is to schedule a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). A MIAM will last 45 to 60 minutes and will teach you how family mediation works. One of our mediators will assist you in determining if it is the best solution for you and your families, and if we all agree, we will officially invite the other party to the process.

Are you thinking about family mediation and want to learn more? Contact us today to discuss your requirements with our team of experts and to schedule a MIAM at your earliest convenience.

What’s a no-fault divorce

What’s a no-fault divorce – why can you wait for a non-fault divorce in the UK?

The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill obtained Royal Assent on 26 June 2020, ending years of lobbying to eliminate the need to blame one of the parties for wanting divorce – allowing for a no-fault divorce.

The revised legislation on non-fault divorce is expected to be applied in the autumn of 2021.

Campaign for No Fault Divorce

The movement for non-fault divorce has been going on for many years, championed by Resolution, a group mainly for family attorneys who see the harm that can be done by separating couples.

As family attorneys, we know that taking the blame away would not allow more people to divorce, as some people fear. Instead, it would allow those who conclude that their marriage or civil union is beyond possibility of redemption to live with the legal and practical repercussions without being swept up in the “blame game.”

There is still a popular belief that “fault” can have a material effect on a financial prize. The simple fact is that “evil” behaviour is seldom taken into consideration when determining what a financial settlement should be.

However, it is difficult for clients to distinguish the fact that they rely on conduct or adultery as grounds for divorce from financial discussions. The idea that if anyone is wrong, there should be a penalty for the other party is a normal human reaction.

But that is not how the courts view it in the majority of cases, and have not done so for years. Needing or having to blame causes an unwanted distraction for many people involved in the divorce process, where the emphasis should be on finding a settlement as easily and painlessly as possible.

Removing responsibility helps parents prevent needless tension in agreeing on potential plans for their children. It can be heartbreaking to see a parent use their children against the other parent. For example, by avoiding touch or making repeated derogatory remarks about their ex. Making the legal mechanism responsible for this change would help people transfer their attention from “why it happened” to “what do we need to do now to move forward?”

Resolution and many other individuals and groups working with or witnessing the effects of relationship breakdowns have long advocated for a safer way for people to split. A way that reflects on the less combative, non-litigious ways of negotiating percent agreed or discussing plans for the kids. No-fault divorce is indeed a big step down the way.

No-fault divorce Q&A

Would the divorce law lead to a rise in divorce?

If we look at other countries where the change has taken place, there has been a temporary rise in the number of divorce cases.

However, in the main, this has been motivated by a decrease in numbers in the timeframe leading to a reform in the law, as some people are willing to wait to escape the blame. The “spike” will soon return to regular levels, and the number of divorces is generally declining as fewer people get married.

Does no-fault divorce mean that we can get a swift divorce?

No, the procedure entails a period of six months before you can get a formal divorce order.

It is not likely to be faster than the current method (putting aside the delays in the overburdened court system).

Will no-fault divorce allow further marriages to split up?

No, why should that be? Couples should not get divorced because of the process. They don’t care about legal action when they decide to divorce.

This whole change does is render it a little less contentious and painful to decide whether their relationship is beyond repair.

Is it cheaper to get divorced because there is no blame?

It makes sense that if the split is less contentious, then the legal expenses will be smaller, but note that there are also financial agreements to work out and dissolve legal marriages or civil partnerships.

With a philosophy of no-blame in place, it is hoped that this would promote more positive debates leading to better and potentially less costly outcomes.

Do I have to wait for a no-fault divorce?

So if you are starting divorce proceedings, is it worth waiting for the new law to come into force (due autumn 2021)?

After all, it will remove the need to blame the dissolution of your marriage, theoretically mitigate any resentment, and make it far more likely that the plans for any multiple children and finances will be pleasant.

The following two examples illustrate that it may be a smart idea to wait for a non-fault divorce.

Scenario 1:

You’ve been part of your partner lately. Your partner is unlikely to agree to a divorce and has not committed adultery.

Under the present law, the only choice is to wait until you have been divorced for five years, or to say that your partner has acted unreasonably.

You’d prefer not to take the latter course, but waiting for five years would be unbearable, so you’re considering a ‘unreasonable conduct’ divorce petition.

How about just waiting for a default divorce to come in instead? You won’t have to make any claims against your partner, and you won’t need their consent to a divorce.

Scenario 2:

You want to initiate divorce proceedings on the grounds of your spouse’s ‘unreasonable behaviour.’

But they don’t want a divorce, and you’re sure they’re going to take strong objections to any claim you make, making it even longer, more costly, and more stressful.

Why don’t you wait if no divorce falls in instead of the divorce now? That way, you won’t have to make any claims against your partner, who won’t be able to justify the divorce.

Disclaimer!

Now, all of the above is just a bit of a ‘thinking exercise.’ It definitely does not reflect legal advice. If you are considering beginning divorce proceedings, you should seek advice from a practising expert family lawyer.

Fixed Price Divorce has the experience that you need. See our Divorce Lawyer page for more information.

Get in contact with us

If you would like some guidance about what non-fault divorce means or other family law matters, please contact our Customer Service Team to talk to one of our specialized divorce attorneys here.