Is Family Mediation Surrey provided at no cost?

Can I receive free family mediation?

Family Mediation Surrey is an alternative way of resolving disputes (ADR). ADR are strategies that may be used to attempt to resolve conflicts outside of court. In family mediation, an impartial third party, your mediator, will assist you in resolving difficulties with child custody and/or financial arrangements following separation or divorce. Your mediator should be “Accredited” by the Family Mediation Council, as he or she is properly trained to handle such issues. At DMS, all of our mediators are certified and abide by the FMC’s Code of Practice.

You may expect to work through your problems in a secure and private setting during mediation. In contrast to court, you will make all decisions during mediation; your mediator will never decide for you or tell you what to do or what not to do. Together, you will hopefully be able to suggest a solution that benefits all parties. Once you are satisfied with a resolution, the mediator will explain how to transform it into a legally enforceable agreement.

There are several advantages to adopting family Mediation Surrey instead of going to court. In fact, the Ministry of Justice has made a concerted effort to encourage persons with family issues to use it. First, individuals cannot file a lawsuit without first attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and at least considering mediation (MIAM). Here you may book your MIAM. There may be exceptions to this rule, such as for victims of domestic violence. Here you may learn more about exclusions. The recent establishment of the Family Mediation Vouchers Scheme – a financial commitment of £500 to each family undergoing family mediation to negotiate child arrangements – is described in further detail below.

The principal advantages of family Mediation Surrey are:

  • It is significantly faster, less expensive, and less stressful than going to court.
  • Regarding child arrangement, parenting, income, assets, and property, you can reach acceptable agreements that can be made legally enforceable.
  • It helps you to control the decision-making process and prioritise your family.

What is the cost of family mediation?

Family mediation is not free, although there are several funding sources. Currently, there are three methods to pay for family mediation, depending on your circumstances. Each is described in depth below.

Client in private family mediation

The prices of private mediation vary from practise to practise. According to the Family Mediation Surrey Council, registered mediators with the FMC fee (on average) £150 each participant per session for mediation services. At Instant Mediation Services, our hourly rate is £120 per person (office hours). We operate on a pay-as-you-go system, which means that you will pay in advance for each session you attend; you will not receive a single bill at the conclusion. This allows you some control over the financing of your mediation process, and you and your mediator can work together to determine what is feasible.

Assistance for family mediation

Family Mediation Surrey is eligible for legal assistance. Solent Family Mediation Services is glad to be able to offer this service since they have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency. There are two ways to become eligible for Legal Aid. We have produced a more in-depth piece on this topic, which may be found here, but in summary:

  • Legal Aid eligibility is contingent on receiving a qualified welfare benefits, like Welfare Benefits, Revenue based ESA/JSA, or Income Support.
  • If you have a low monthly disposable income (less than £733 per month), you may be eligible for Legal Aid.

If you are eligible for Legal Aid, the following costs will be covered:

  • Your Mediation Information and Evaluation Conference (MAIM)
  • Your joint Mediation Surrey sessions
  • Costs associated with the creation of legal papers such as Parenting Plans, Open Financial Information, and Memorandums of Understanding.

In addition, Legal Aid can also give financing to the other party involved in your mediation, particularly if they do not qualify. Legal Aid will pay for the other party’s MIAM as well as the first hour of mediation.

At Solent Family Mediation Services, it is simple to apply for Legal Aid; all you need to do is fill out an online form and submit documentation (for example, a screenshot of your Universal Credit entitlement). We’ll handle the rest.

Family Mediation Voucher Program

In March of 2021, the Ministry of Justice unveiled a new creative financing option for family mediation. The voucher scheme provides up to £550 per family towards the cost of child-related mediation. This effectively implies that (with DMS) you receive little more than 2 hours of free mediation.

The voucher programme was first established in reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak in an effort to alleviate the load on the Family Court and as part of an intensive drive to encourage families to use family mediation to resolve disputes. We are thrilled with the continued expansion of the voucher programme.

The voucher programme is not income-based, thus it does not consider your personal resources when awarding vouchers. Unlike Legal Aid, the voucher programme will apply to nearly all child-related matters. The voucher programme does not apply to instances that include only financial agreements.

When you attend your MIAM, your mediator will describe the voucher programme and request your approval. That’s all you actually need to do; we’ll handle the rest. Our team will submit the voucher request on your behalf. Due to the fact that the voucher does not include MIAMs, you will need to pay privately or through Legal Aid. (Yes, you may still request the voucher if you are a customer of Legal Aid!) After both parties have undergone MIAMs, Mediation Surrey sessions can commence. Here you may find additional information about the mediation procedure.

You may only apply for the voucher programme once; you cannot get it twice. It is also vital to note that the voucher programme is currently undetermined and there is no assurance it will continue. During the MIAM, your mediator will clarify if the voucher system is available to you. Contact the office if you have any queries concerning the voucher system.

Our blog contains further information about family Mediation Surrey and other family-related topics.

Conclusions regarding free mediation

Although family Mediation Surrey is not free, Legal Aid and funds are available to assist with the costs. Thankfully, Legal Aid is accessible for family mediation, so your money should not prevent you from obtaining the service. Similarly, the voucher programme provides financial assistance to all families who are having difficulty making accommodations for their children.

Contact a Family mediator in Surrey today on 0238 161 1051

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