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Family Mediation in Leeds

About Direct Mediation Services in Leeds 

Our team of Family Mediation Council accredited family mediators in Leeds, West Yorkshire is led by award-winning mediator, Stuart Hanson. Stuart is a Family Mediator accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) to mediate all family issues and is a member of the College of Mediators. He also trains mediators across England and Wales.

We provide online and face to face Mediation Information & Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) and mediation to our clients in the Leeds, West Yorkshire area and throughout England and Wales, whether they are paying privately or are Legal Aid funded. All our mediators are properly accredited so they are authorised to sign court forms, such as the C100 and the FM1.

Our family mediation team helps families get through change, particularly when separating, divorcing, or restructuring the family. Our family mediators are strictly impartial and have been intensively trained to help you and your ex-partner communicate better. We aim to support you in making your own decisions about how to arrange things in the future, rather than the courts deciding what is best for you and your children and telling you what to do.

Grandchildren have a bond with their grandparents that is important and this is recognised by the family court in the UK. There is not an automatic right to make an application as a grandparent, but it is very rare that a court would turn down an application from an active grandparent. However, before going to court, family mediation may be a cheaper and a quicker option. To speak to one our team, you can book an online session via our website, or ring for an appointment for an in-person session at our mediation venue in Leeds Family Mediation.

Why choose family mediation?

Deciding to try mediation is not always easy. It means that you and your ex-partner admit to yourselves that you have a joint problem that needs fixing, and for many people that means they finally accept that communication between you has broken down. But when you decide to try mediation, you are making a positive step towards changing the situation and finding an agreement that everyone can live with. It can be scary to pick up the phone to make the first call, so we make it easy for you to book online, knowing that you can speak to someone at Direct Mediation Services about mediation, the process and the promise we make to you as a client regarding the services we deliver at any time.

There are three main areas that family mediations can help with:

Child arrangements

Where will the children live? Does maintenance have to be paid for the children? If so, how much is fair? What are the children going through?

Communication

How can we communicate calmly with each other through all this? How can we work out what is really best for our children after we separate? How does my ex’s new partner fit in to the arrangements?

Financial & Property Arrangements

Do we have to sell the family home? What is a fair way to split our assets? How can I make ends meet? How can I afford to live after we’ve separated?

There are a few reasons why family mediation in Leeds, West Yorkshire is usually the best choice for the whole family:

It is in the children’s best interests – When parents work their problems out together, even when they are separating, it is much better for your children to cope with the situation, as it helps them keep their relationships intact with the whole family.

It is usually quicker than going to court – On average, it takes 110 days to get to an agreement through family mediation. Battling it out through the courts takes an average of 435 days when there has been no mediation. That makes mediation about 10.5 months quicker on average.

It is a safe & confidential environment to come to an agreement – Mediation is always confidential. Meetings are private and held at a neutral place – the mediator’s office or a community centre, for example.

It is less stressful & there is less conflict – Court battles often end up with one party feeling they’ve ‘won’ and the other feeling they’ve ‘lost’ – or even worse with both parties feeling they’ve ‘lost’. The parties and their solicitors often focus just on ‘winning’ and lose sight of the overall picture.

It puts the decision in your hands, not the courts – Family mediators in Leeds, West Yorkshire work with you to find a solution that works for you and your family and, importantly, helps you to make this agreement legally binding.

It is usually cheaper than going to court – A National Audit Report in 2012 found that the average cost of mediation was £675 per client. Going to court cost £2,823 per client on average. Mediation could save you £2,148 each – that’s over £4,000 per couple.

Many people worry about having to discuss difficult issues with their ex-partner during the mediation process, especially if they argue a lot or can no longer speak to each other. Before your first mediation with your ex-partner, each person is invited to a separate Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is where you can tell your accredited family mediator in Leeds, West Yorkshire if you are worried about anything to do with the mediation process and you can talk frankly and confidentially about your personal situation. This meeting can be online or face-to-face and will usually last from 45 minutes to an hour. Your ex-partner will not be at this meeting with you and will not be told what you discuss. Below is some information about the different stages within mediation.

The family mediation process 

The mediation journey is a step into the unknown for many people. We have broken it down into four simple stages to help you understand the process and how it will help you and your family.

Initial meeting with a mediator (MIAM)

In the first meeting with a mediator, sometimes known as a MIAM, you will find out how mediation can work for you and your family. This meeting usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. It can be face-to-face at one of our venues, or online using WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom. We can usually give you a date and time for online appointments at the time you make your booking. During this meeting, you will discuss the following:

  1. What mediation is, and how it works.
  2. Whether family mediation in Leeds, West Yorkshire is going to be best for you and your family, or whether you should think about a different way of resolving your family dispute, such as solicitor negotiation, collaborative law, arbitration or going through the courts.
  3. The benefits of mediation and other forms of family dispute resolution.
  4. How many sessions you may need.
  5. How much mediation is likely to cost you.
  6. Whether you could qualify for Legal Aid to pay for your mediation.

Agreement to mediate

One of the first things that will happen at the first mediation session is the mediator will explain how mediation works and the rules of the mediation room. This is covered in a document called an Agreement to Mediate. Both you and your former partner will be asked to sign this before starting the session. If you would like to see a copy before your joint mediation session, please tell your mediator in your MIAM.

Different types of mediation

The family mediator will talk with you about which will be best for your situation.

  1. Sole mediation

This is the type of mediation which is most often used. You and your former partner will be in the same room with your qualified mediator to jointly discuss potential solutions. This type of mediation takes about three mediation sessions on average, but it may vary depending how many issues you disagree on and how complex the issues are. Each sole mediation session is generally between 60 and 90 minutes long.

  1. Co-mediation

This form of family mediation in Leeds, West Yorkshire involves two or more mediators. It might be appropriate when there are more than two parties involved in a dispute, or where there is more than one issue to resolve, which need different expertise from the accredited mediator. Co-mediation can also be helpful if there is a high level of conflict between you and the other party.

  1. Shuttle mediation

Shuttle mediation is mainly used when you and your ex-partner cannot be in the same room together. You will stay in separate rooms and your mediator, or mediators, will ‘shuttle’ between the two rooms so you don’t have to talk face-to-face with your ex-partner. This gives you a safe environment to be able to work on the issues you both face, but unlike other forms of mediation, you are not likely to come out of mediation being able to communicate better and more calmly with your ex-partner. A downside to this method, however, is that it often takes a lot longer to reach agreement than with sole or co-mediation.

  1. Child Consultations

This approach lets a child talk with a qualified child consultant mediator. This will only be done if the child agrees to be involved and you and your ex-partner both agree to it. We promise you that your children will not be asked to make choices or decisions or ‘take sides’ and that we always respect your parental authority.

The final outcome

Once the family mediation process has finished, your family mediator will explain to you how to go about getting legal advice about what you have agreed and how it can be turned into a legally binding agreement and/or court order. Although proposals regarding children do not necessarily have to be converted into a court order, it might be appropriate in some cases, and proposals relating to financial issues often should be formalised. Sometimes it is not possible to reach agreement through mediation and the mediator will discuss what other options you have, such as arbitration or court proceedings. Although the mediator will never tell you to do something, he or she may suggest that you speak with another relevant professional, for instance a pensions specialist, before making any decisions.

What will family mediation cost in Leeds, West Yorkshire? 

There are two ways you can pay for your family mediation in Leeds, West Yorkshire:

  1. Legal Aid
  2. Privately paying

Legal Aid

If you qualify for Legal Aid your mediation will not cost you anything. Legal Aid is often available to those who are on a low income or on specific benefits, such as Universal Credit, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income based), Pension Credit. If you get Legal Aid and your ex-partner does not, your Legal Aid will also cover the cost of their MIAM and first mediation session. They will pay for each of their sessions after this. You can talk to one of our team to see if you qualify. It is important to remember there it takes 10 working days to process your Legal Aid application and it is not possible to shorten this period.

Privately Paying

Your MIAM within office hours £130

We promise our clients an online MIAM appointment within three days of booking. This could be during your lunch break, or before picking the kids up from school. Let us know what day and time suits you best and we will do everything we can to offer you a time that fits in with your life. If you would like to book a face-to-face appointment, please let our staff know. Face-to-face appointments usually take a little longer to arrange.

Early Morning/Evenings/Weekend Online MIAM £180

When you work long hours, it can be difficult to find time for a MIAM and it is not always possible to take time off work. If you need to do your online MIAM outside normal office hours, we can arrange early morning appointments from 7am or evening and weekend appointments.

Online MIAM within an hour £180

We understand that some clients only need a MIAM certificate so they can complete a court application form. Our 1-hour express service is perfect for this situation. Whether you are in your solicitor’s office, at work or at home, we will do your MIAM meeting online within 1 hour of your call and email the certificate you need for your court application to you immediately after the MIAM.

Mediation Session Fees £130 per person per hour

Mediation sessions cost £130 per hour per person for privately paying clients. Payment is due before the session, either by card or bank transfer. 

Our family mediation centre in Leeds, West Yorkshire

In Leeds, West Yorkshire, Direct Mediation Services has its centre at Vicarage Chambers, 9 Park Square East, Leeds.

The city of Leeds is the biggest city in West Yorkshire, a county in the North of England. It is about 170 miles north of the capital, London. Leeds is proud to say that it has a very diverse economy. In recent years, private industry has boomed. In total 77% of the working people in Leeds work in the private sector. One of the other big employers in the city is the local authority with 480,000 employees. Leeds has also been deemed to be a Highly Sufficient City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. It is without doubt that Leeds is the commercial, financial and cultural capital of West Yorkshire. It has five universities and with it a large student population, the fourth in the United Kingdom. It is reported that the city is the fourth’s largest urban economy in the country.

Leeds has grown rapidly over the centuries and became a major city of importance in Leeds during the Industrial Revolution. It was an important mill town because of the wool, but in addition to this there was flax, iron foundries, engineering and printing. What helped the city was that it was on the River Aire. The city is in the West Yorkshire Urban Area and has a population of 2.6 million.

Today, Leeds has the largest legal and financial centre outside London and it is said to be worth £13 billion. So important is the city, that there are over 30 national and international banking institutions, including Bank of England.

Leeds has also seen several firsts. This includes the oldest-surviving film known, Roundhay Garden Scene (1888), and importantly in 1767 the invention of soda water.

The city has an excellent transport system and soon High Speed 2 will connect Leeds to the capital via East Midlands Hub and Sheffield Meadowhall. An interesting fact is that Leeds railway station is the third busiest in the country and has the tenth busiest airport, excluding London.

Direct Mediation Services

Direct Mediation Services is a trading name of The Intelligent Solutions Group Ltd. The company is registered in England and Wales.  Company Number 7760633. VAT registration number 334 8141 12. Our company’s registered address is 5 Carla Beck House, Carla Beck Lane, Carleton, Skipton, BD23 3BQ.

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