What happens in a session?
FIRST APPOINTMENT - ASSESSMENT
At the first appointment the mediator will see you both separately and at different times. The principles of mediation will be explained and what happens next and what is expected of you. The mediator will also assess whether it is appropriate to mediate.
If all the parties are happy to continue then a joint mediation appointment will be made and an AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE form will be signed by everyone to show willingness to participate in the process.
SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT APPOINTMENTS
The second and subsequent sessions will take place with all parties present.
It will be established at this meeting what issues need to be looked at and if financial arrangements need to be discussed then you will be asked to complete a financial information form and in due course provide supporting documentation.
The mediator will help you talk through the issues and will use a flip chart to set out the main issues that need to be agreed. The mediator is impartial and does not take sides or give legal advice. At any time during the process you can consult with your solicitor. The mediator is there to help and facilitate you reaching an agreement that is in everyone's best interests.
It takes on average 2 to 4 sessions depending on what needs to be resolved and the complexity of the case. Each session usually last 1 1/2 hours. You are only charged for the sessions that you undertake.
FINAL APPOINTMENT AND THE OUTCOME
When an agreement is reached the mediator will prepare 2 documents.
A Summary of Financial Information will be prepared if financial issues have been resolved. This is an "open" document which means that it is a factual summary of the parties' financial details. This statement can be used in any financial application at court.
The second document is a Memorandum of Understanding. This is a summary of the proposals that you have agreed to in mediation. This is a "privileged" document which means it cannot be used in court proceedings unless the parties consent. It is recommended that you show this document to your respective solicitors to obtain independent legal advice and then if you are in agreement it can be drawn up into a consent order and lodged at court.