Divorce Mediation, Following the introduction of the Family Proceedings Rules on 6th April 2011, before a person can make an application to the Court for an Order in relevant family proceedings, the Applicant (or the Applicant’s legal representative), should contact a Family Mediator to arrange for the Applicant to attend an information meeting about mediation. This means that you cannot make an application to the Court for an Order in relevant family proceedings unless you have attended this initial information meeting about family mediation. We can advise you about mediation and consider with you whether a referral to mediation is appropriate.
In some circumstances, we do not need to make a referral to mediation if, for example, the order you wish to apply for is not considered to be “relevant family proceedings” or you will be exempt from mediation. We will guide you through the requirements and advise you accordingly.
If a referral to an initial mediation information and assessment meeting is necessary, the Applicant should attend. We will make the necessary referral and a mediator will contact you to arrange an initial appointment. If the parties are willing to attend together, the meeting can be conducted jointly; however, if necessary, separate meetings may be held.
The party will not be required to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting before an application to the Court if one of the following circumstances applies: –
- The mediator is satisfied that mediation is not suitable because the other party to the dispute is unwilling to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting and consider mediation.
- The mediator determines that the case is not suitable for a mediation information and assessment meeting.
- A mediator has made a determination within the previous four months that the case is not suitable for a mediation information and assessment meeting or for mediation.
- Domestic abuse. If any party has, to the Applicant’s knowledge, made an allegation of domestic abuse against the other party, and this has resulted in a Police investigation or the issuing of Civil Proceedings for the protection of any party within the last 12 months.
- Bankruptcy. If the dispute concerns financial issues and the Applicant or the other party is bankrupt.
- The parties are in agreement and there is no dispute to mediate.
- The whereabouts of the other party are unknown to the Applicant.
- The prospective application is for an Order in relevant family proceedings which are already in existence and are continuing.
- The prospective application is to be made without notice to the party.
- Urgency. The prospective application is urgent, meaning (a) there is a risk to life, liberty or physical safety of the Applicant or his or her family or his or her home; or (b) any delay caused by attending a mediation information and assessment meeting would cause a risk of significant harm to a child, significant risk of miscarriage of justice, unreasonable hardship to the Applicant or irretrievable problems in dealing with a dispute, such as irretrievable loss of significant evidence.
- There is current Social Services involvement as a result of child protection concerns in respect of any child who would be subject to the prospective application.
- A child would be a party to the prospective application by virtue of Rule 12.31.
- The Applicant or the Applicant’s legal representative contacts three mediators within 15 miles of the Applicant’s home and none is able to conduct a mediation information and assessment meeting within 15 working days of the date of contact.
If you require help then our Family Solicitors will be able to assist you with your query. We will always aim to seek a solution or resolve your case/matter outside of the court. Our specialist Family Solicitors understand that family problems can prove extremely stressful and worrying, but ignoring these issues will not make them go away. If you are struggling with the Family matter, please Contact us for advice from our specialist solicitors.