Mediators are trained to give legal information but not legal advice. It may be helpful to check with a solicitor that what you are agreeing to is fair for you. You can arrange this at any point in the process. A solicitor may:-
If you are working to reach agreement through mediation, there is much less need for a solicitor’s time. This means that legal fees can be kept as low as possible. If you are eligible for Legal Aid you can get a small amount of legal advice and your agreement made into a legally binding document for free.
Engaging in mediation does not in any way affect your legal rights. You retain these rights and can ask the court to decide matters on your behalf at any time.
If mediation is not proceeding or you cannot come to agreement you may need to apply to the court. You will have to show that you have met with a mediator and considered mediation unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you have attended a MIAM within the last four months we will provide the appropriately completed section of the relevant form (signed by a certified mediator) confirming you have attended a MIAM, to enable you to access court.
Being in court does not mean that mediation is not possible.
If you have applied to, or are already in court, and you both agree to try mediation, you can ask the court to postpone proceedings whilst you try to sort things out yourselves.
Mediation is much less expensive than litigation. Where a case has to go to court, costs can rise to thousands of pounds - and will take much longer to conclude. It is estimated that the average costs for solicitors to negotiate a settlement and deal with court proceedings are:
Child Arrangements - £1500 to £3000 Finance and Property - £3000 and £6000 The average cost of mediation is: Child Arrangements - £280 per person Finance and Property - £470 per person