Are you saying to yourself: “I need help seeing my kids?” Then where you are having difficulties making child arrangements with you ex-partner, mediation can help you to start seeing your kids. At FRS, mediation is free where you are on a sufficiently low income. Our mediators are fully accredited and they will be a qualified lawyer or counsellor. You simply sit down around a table with your ex-partner and a mediator and discuss seeing the children. By basically saying “I need help seeing my kids” you open up a frank and important conversation. You then both look at what the child(ren) need in a future focussed manner. The mediator merely facilitates a constructive dialogue because we believe that you, as parents, are best placed to make the decisions about what your child(ren) need. Discussions in 80% of our cases will result in the non-resident parent, usually the father, having regular access to their child(ren) and a date is set for when that parent starts seeing the children.
What is the process?
The process starts by having a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) which is an opportunity to learn about the confidential nature of mediation and the principles and processes behind it. Ultimately you spend the majority of this meeting looking at what you would like to achieve and being clear about the differences between what you want and what you need. The child’s right always takes pre-eminence in United Kingdom law and so their needs will be paramount.
The mediator also uses the opportunity to explain what the alternatives to family mediation are such as arbitration, collaborative law, self-representation etc.
Can I trust my ex partner?
Once you’ve each had a confidential MIAM session and you’re both happy to proceed to mediation, then the first of between two and four meetings is booked and family mediation starts. With the assistance of the family mediator providing step by step guidance, you clarify areas of misunderstanding; explain motivation behind actions and agree the best way forward for your children and yourselves. Sometimes couples reconcile at mediation and at other times they recognise there is no possibility of this in the future – in either case, they begin to make decisions based on a “realistic future” which is often what the kids need.
Watch this short Ministry of Justice Youtube video on family justice for more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA99gui758I