|To discuss, in strict confidence, our Family Mediation Service, please contact Partner and Family Mediator, Sarah Jackson, on 0117 905 5308 or 01225 462871. Alternatively, you can contact her by email at email@example.com.|
- BLB Family Mediation Service
- Our accredited Family Mediator
- Our Locations
- Online Mediation
- Mediation Referral Form
- Mediation Fees
- Contact and Resources
BLB Family Mediation Service
When a relationship breaks down, emotions often run high, yet there are usually a number of important decisions to be made regarding arrangements for the future.
Talking face-to-face with your former partner may be the quickest and most inexpensive way to resolve your issues. However, quite understandably, many find this a daunting prospect. That is where the BLB Family Mediation Service can help.
Accredited Family Mediator
Our Resolution-trained Mediator, Sarah Jackson, will assist you and your former partner to talk to one another in a safe environment, to focus on what really matters to each of you and to reach the best solutions for you and your family. Sarah is also a practising Family Solicitor and will ensure that any proposals you arrive at through Mediation can be made into a legally binding agreement should you wish.
Our Mediator is able to offer online mediation or can see you and your former partner in person at:
- one of our two Bristol offices located at 13-14 Orchard Street in the city centre, and 130 Aztec West in Almondsbury; or
- our Bath office at 1 Edgar Buildings, George Street.
BLB Solicitors’ Mediation Service is able to offer mediation by secure video link and Zoom is the preferred provider.
We began providing mediation via Zoom as a matter of necessity when the Covid pandemic hit in March 2020. However, many of our clients now say they prefer it to ‘in person’ mediation. The advantages of virtual mediation are:
- Convenience – you can mediate from your home or your place of work (as long as you have a private space where you cannot be overheard);
- Cost – it is potentially cheaper as you do not have to pay for travel or parking;
- Comfort – clients report feeling calmer and more relaxed mediating from the comfort of their own home.
Mediation via Zoom follows the same format as ‘in person’ mediation.
First of all, mediating couples have separate intake meetings (known as a MIAM) at which they each explore with the mediator whether mediation is going to be a suitable forum for resolving their issues. As these meetings are one-to-one with the Mediator, they serve as a relaxed introduction to the Zoom format for those who are not familiar with video conferencing. The Mediator will send you a Zoom link for the meeting, and you will need to set up an account with Zoom – either in advance or on clicking on the link.
Any issues or queries about using Zoom can be addressed by you and the Mediator together at this preliminary meeting (MIAM) so that you are well prepared for your first virtual mediation session.
Once both clients have had separate MIAMs, and if it is agreed that mediation will go ahead, some paperwork for completion and return will be sent to the mediating couple by email. Ideally, this will be returned to the Mediator by email in pdf format, but hard copies by post will be accepted otherwise.
For financial mediations, most couples also choose to provide the Mediator with their financial disclosure (bank statements etc) in advance of the first mediation session for expediency. Again, this is ideally returned by email in pdf format, but hard copies by post, preferably to our Bath office, will be accepted from those clients who do not have printing or scanning facilities.
The optimum model for Zoom mediation, like ‘in person’ mediation, is for the mediating couple and the Mediator to be able to see one another at all times – so in a virtual setting, there will be three faces on the screen.
An alternative model is for the Mediator to speak with the mediating couple one at a time while the other waits in the waiting room. This takes longer and has its limitations, but is worth exploring as an alternative to the traditional solicitor route if necessary.
BLB Solicitor’s Family Mediation Service will be offering face-to-face mediation again when the Covid roadmap allows, but virtual meetings will continue to be offered to those who want them – and will, it seems, be the preference of some clients.
Mediation Referral Form
To save or download our referral form, please click here.
Some Mediation providers advertise their fees on a per person basis and some do not. To enable you to make a proper comparison between our charges and those of other providers we have set out our fees on various bases which you can view here.
Frequently asked questions are:
- What is Family Mediation?
- Why choose Family Mediation?
- What is a Resolution-trained Family Mediator?
- How much does Family Mediation cost?
- Will I still need a Solicitor?
- Will Family Mediation help me?
- MIAM meaning
What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is a process whereby a specially trained Family Mediator helps you, as a separating couple, to talk things through, so you can settle on a proposal for future arrangements for your children, finances or any other issues that arise following your separation. The Family Mediator then draws up the proposal into a Summary, which each of you can take to your own Solicitors.
A Family Mediator is always impartial and works on behalf of both of you equally, irrespective of which of you makes the initial enquiry. The Mediator does not offer advice that influences the decisions of either of you, but gives general information about the legal aspects of relationship breakdown and assists a couple to reach workable solutions.
Why choose Mediation?
The main reasons that people choose to mediate are that:
- It gives you more control over the outcome rather than having one imposed on you by the court;
- The costs are usually considerably less than using solicitors as intermediaries;
- It helps you to resolve issues much more quickly, at a pace to suit you;
- It reduces tension and hostility, which is beneficial to any children who can see that their parents are working together to resolve their issues.
What is a Resolution-trained Mediator?
Our Mediator was trained by Resolution, a national body of family solicitors, and is also a practicing Family Solicitor. As such, she is an expert in Family Law and therefore best placed to assist you to reach solutions that are likely to be accepted as workable when the time comes to convert them into a legally binding agreement by your own Solicitor.
How much does Family Mediation cost?
Our Mediator’s fees are competitive at £120 plus VAT per person per hour for Mediation and any necessary follow-up paperwork.
On average a couple will need three or four Mediation sessions (each session is 1½ hours, with up to 1 hour follow-up paperwork between sessions) in order to exchange information, discuss options and reach a proposal, or a set of proposals, to resolve the issues between them. Then the Mediator will take an additional 2-3 hours at the conclusion of the process to prepare a Financial Statement of your respective financial circumstances and a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding summarising your discussions, the outcome and your proposals.
The cost of attending Mediation is usually considerably lower than the cost of the more traditional route, where each person uses their own solicitor to get to a comparable point, namely to exchange information, engage in negotiations and reach an agreement.
Will I still need a Solicitor?
Mediators do not give legal advice and do not represent individuals. They are there to help both of you work out a plan for the future. Once you and your former partner have finalised a proposal through Mediation, you should then discuss it with your own Solicitors, who can, if desired, make it into a legally binding agreement. Either of you can consult your own Solicitor during any stage of the Mediation process should you wish to do so.
Will Family Mediation help me?
Mediation is not for everyone, nor is it a soft option. To enable you to find out more about the mediation process, we offer a 30-minute Introductory Mediation Meeting with our Solicitor Mediator, which you will need to attend separately rather than together as a couple. The purpose of this meeting is to gather details about your circumstances and assess with you whether Mediation would be helpful in your case. If you already have a Solicitor, they can provide us with basic information about your situation in advance of your meeting by completing our referral form. Alternatively, you can contact us directly.
Our referral form is available here.
A MIAM is a “Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting”. Our Family Mediator has received authorisation from the Mediation Council to conduct these meetings. We charge a fee of £100 plus VAT for the meeting itself, which includes the provision of a mediator’s certificate, should you require one.
“I was delighted with the process of mediation. Sarah was extremely skilled in helping my ex-husband and I come to an agreement over our financial settlement. She was a miracle worker as this was a near impossibility. We had agreed over very little in our marriage and money was always a serious hot potato. Mediation stopped the expensive to-ing and fro-ing between solicitors. I would like to say that I wish we had gone to her at the beginning of the lengthy divorce process and saved ourselves time and enormous amounts of money, but mediation in conjunction with individual advice from my solicitor meant I was fully armed with information and so made the process clear and final. I would definitely recommend Sarah to others.” LW
“The negotiations that you facilitated provided us with a framework for a final agreement we were both happy with, so I can safely say without your support it would have been much more difficult. Thank you so much for all the work you put in – people who find themselves at such a point in their lives usually find it extremely difficult to reach agreements and I really appreciate and value your professionalism in supporting us to establish the basis of one that has allowed us to move forward and create new lives.” AM
“I would like to say thank you for all the help you have given me personally and at a very difficult time. I am so glad that we decided to use the mediation process and chose you as our mediator. Your input has been invaluable.” JH
Contact and Resources
To discuss, in strict confidence, our Family Mediation Service, please contact Partner and Family Mediator, Sarah Jackson, on 0117 905 5308 or 01225 462871, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our helpful Guides covering every aspect of Divorce and Family Law.