Family Mediation in Newcastle
About Direct Mediation Services in Newcastle
We are Newcastle-based Family Mediation Council-accredited family mediators. We are led by Stuart Hanson who is an award-winning mediator as well as being a College of Mediators member. Stuart himself is an active mediator as well as passing on his experience by training other mediators nationally.
Our team offers mediation services to privately funded as well as Legal Aid-funded clients. We can offer Mediation Information & Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) as well as general mediation services to clients in the Newcastle area either face-to-face or online. What’s more, we are authorised, as accredited mediators, to sign court forms you might need, including FM1 or C100.
The main part of our work is supporting families who are going through changes that are bound to happen when families restructure or go through separation and divorce. Our family mediators are completely impartial and highly trained. They will support both your ex-partner and you to communicate effectively and come to agreements about future arrangements, instead of leaving this to the courts to impose a decision. We support you as you decide between yourselves what is the best for you and your children.
Why decide for family mediation?
It can be difficult to decide to try mediation. You both have to acknowledge you have a problem that you need help with and reach out for that help. Communication often becomes very difficult when family relationships break down. Mediation is a way that can give you support when you decide you need to make changes in a very difficult situation and work to find an agreement which all parties can accept.
It can feel like a big step to make the first contact with a mediation service. At Newcastle Family Mediation, your initial point of call is either by telephone or online. After you have first made contact, you can speak to us at any time if you have any questions about the process or the services we provide to you as our client.
What sort of things can we help with?
Who will my children live with and where?
Does maintenance have to be paid? If so, how much?
How are my children coping with all this? In what ways can I help?
How can me and my ex talk to each other without conflict?
How do we do what’s best for our children now we live separate lives?
I want my new partner to have some involvement with my children, but I don’t want it to cause more conflict
Arrangements about finances and property
How do we deal with the family home?
How should we divide our assets?
Money is going to be very tight – what can I do?
Why is mediation better for me and my family?
It is a better way to protect your children’s interests.
There is little doubt that children benefit when their parents co-operate because it helps maintain good relationships with both sides of the family.
It is usually much quicker than going through court proceedings
Cases agreed through mediation take on average 110 days, but those not done through mediation take an average of 435 days. This makes mediation over 10 months quicker on average.
It is likely to save you money
A National Audit Report in 2012 revealed that it costs a client on average around £675 when they use mediation. Going through court would cost an average of £2,823. This means that agreeing things through mediation can mean you save, on average, £2,148.
You make the decisions about what will be the best solution for your family, not the court
Your mediator supports you as you find a solution which all parties can agreed on. We can also give you the support and advice you need to make the agreement you have reached legally binding.
Your discussions are in a safe environment. They take place in a confidential setting
Face-to-face meetings are always held at a neutral venue or your mediator’s office. All your discussions are guaranteed to be confidential.
It is significantly less stressful and there is less conflict as a result
The court system sets one side against the other. Mediation avoids a “them and us” attitude. There will not be a winner and a loser; we always keep the bigger picture in mind and support you as you reach an agreement on an amicable basis.
How does the mediation process work?
Your initial meeting (MIAM)
The first meeting you have is called a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This helps you understand how the mediation process can support you and your family. You will have time to ask any questions you like about the process. The accredited mediator will also talk with you about your own personal situation, what you want and how you feel. This meeting can either be face-to-face, held at a neutral place, or online. These use different platforms (e.g. Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp). You can expect the MIAM to last somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour.
You have your MIAM without your ex-partner. We know that many people are worried about having to be in the same room as their ex-partner during their mediation sessions, especially where there is a history of the previous animosity or if you no longer communication with each other directly. Where this might prove difficult, we can offer “Shuttle Mediation” to help ease your worries (see later). Your mediator can discuss this with you during your MIAM.
You can expect to discuss the following at your MIAM meeting:
How mediation works;
Whether mediation could be right for you, or if a different resolution method might suit you better, such as arbitration, solicitor negotiation, collaborative law, or whether court proceedings are the best way forward at this stage;
The benefits mediation or an alternative resolution process might offer you;
How many sessions you might need;
How much mediation is likely to cost in your case; and
Whether you might be eligible to have your mediation funded by Legal Aid.
Agreement to mediate
The Agreement to Mediate explains the rules that apply in the mediation room and the mediator will talk through these at your initial meeting. All parties to mediation must sign this document before the first session to confirm they will comply with the rules. You can ask for a copy of the Agreement to Mediate that you will be asked to sign at your MIAM.
Different mediation types
Your mediator will talk through four different types of mediation with you. You can decide together the type that suits you best.
This is the type of mediation that is most often used. You and your ex-partner will meet together to talk through potential solutions with a qualified mediator. You will probably need about three sessions, although this depends on how complex your case is. Sole mediation is generally quicker than the shuttle type (see later), each session lasting between 60 — 90 minutes.
In co-mediation, two or more mediators are involved. This can be appropriate when there are more than two parties. It might also be that mediation needs to cover issues needing different specific sorts of expertise from the mediator. It can also be helpful when there is a very large amount of conflict between parties.
Shuttle mediation might be appropriate when the situation between your former partner and yourself means you cannot be in the same room together. Mediator(s) “shuttle” between the two rooms to prevent you having to come face-to-face with your ex-partner. Unlike other types of mediation, shuttle mediation does not help you improve relations, we do accept that sometimes it is just not possible to improve relations between former partners. Shuttle mediation tends to ensure safer negotiations. A downside is that shuttle mediation is much more time consuming, and therefore costly, compared to other forms of mediation.
Sometimes, a child under 18 might need to take part in mediations. Mediations involving children only happen if all parties agree – the child, you and your ex-partner. The mediator will have been specially trained to mediate with children. Your child is not asked to make any decisions or choices, but this allows their wishes to be fully considered by all involved.
The final outcome
Once you have completed mediation, your mediator will tell you how you can turn the agreements you have made into court orders which will be legally binding. It is not necessary to make arrangements relating to children legally binding, however financial issues should usually be made legally binding. There are times when people are not able to reach agreement through mediation. If this happens, your mediator will talk with you about other options you could follow, which include court proceedings and arbitration. The mediator might recommend that you consult another relevant professional (a pensions specialist, for example), before you make any decisions. However, mediators will never tell you exactly what you must do, but give you options.
How much is family mediation in Newcastle likely to cost me?
This all depends on whether you will be paying privately or either you or your ex-partner qualify for Legal Aid.
If qualify for Legal Aid, you will not have to pay for your mediation. You might qualify if you are on certain benefits, or if you work but are on a low income. If you get Universal Credit, Income Support, Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance (income-based for both these last two benefits), legal aid is often available. It might be the case that your former partner qualifies for Legal Aid but you don’t. In this case, your MIAM and the cost of your first mediation session is paid for by your former partner’s Legal Aid award. You will only have to pay for your second and subsequent mediation sessions. We will help you find out whether you qualify for legal aid. Please bear in mind though that your Legal Aid application will take 10 working days to be processed and must be completed before booking your MIAM.
Clients who are paying privately have three options:
Online MIAM within regular office hours (£130) BOOK NOW
You can have a regular online MIAM appointment within three days of your booking. You could arrange your online appointment during your lunch break, for example, or before or after the school run. Let us know what time suits you best and we will do our best to schedule a time that fits your day. If you prefer to have your MIAM face-to-face, it might take a little longer to arrange. Please ask our team for details.
Early Morning/Weekends/Evening/Online (£180) BOOK NOW
Some people are not able to arrange their MIAM during normal office hours because of their work commitments. If this is the case, we can arrange online MIAMs at weekends or in the evening. This gives you more flexibility to find an appointment that fits with your commitments. We can also arrange early morning appointments from 7am if it is better for you to fit your MIAM in prior to starting your day.
Online MIAM within one hour (£180) BOOK NOW
Sometimes people need to have a MIAM certificate urgently to complete court forms. We offer an express 1-hour service for these situations. We will conduct your MIAM online straight away and email the certificate to you as soon as it is complete, enabling you to make your court application.
After completing your MIAM, mediation session fees are charged at £130 per hour per person. These payments are due before each mediation session either by card or by bank transfer.
Family mediation in Newcastle
Newcastle, or Newcastle upon Tyne to give it its full name, is a city and metropolitan borough in the North East of England. It is the largest city in Tyne and Wear and is 120 miles away from Edinburgh in Scotland and 291 miles from London. Newcastle grew from a Roman settlement founded in the 2nd century AD.
Newcastle’s population was estimated at slightly over 300,000 in 2019. It is home to two universities (Newcastle and Northumbria) and as such has a significant student population.
The Newcastle dialect, Geordie, is very distinctive, having retained many of its Anglo-Saxon origins and with elements of vocabulary and pronunciations not used in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Newcastle was prominent in the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, particularly around shipbuilding, coal mining, engineering, munitions and manufacturing. Nowadays it is the commercial, educational and cultural hub of North East England. It has long had a thriving nightlife economy which was severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic from 2020.
Newcastle is served by the largest international airport in the North East of England and a system of suburban and underground railways, the Tyne and Wear Metro, covering much of Newcastle and the surrounding metropolitan boroughs.
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.
© 2023 Direct Mediation Services | All Rights Reserved.