So how much does mediation cost? Is it free?
To cut a long story short – yes, it can be. Read on to see if you qualify for cost free mediation.
Going through a divorce or separation is never easy, even the most amicable brings about challenges you will not have usually thought about or planned for. One of the biggest worries that people in such situations face is ‘what is it going to cost me?’ With the added pressures and costs of one family splitting into two, money will often be an issue.
The issues and problems that often accompany the ending of a relationship will not be unique to you. We all have the same questions and worries in such a situation. Who will the children live with? How often can you see your children? Who gets the house? Do we have to sell the family home? What about our investments and private pensions? What about our family debts? Who pays them? What about the family dog or cat? Who does he/she live with?
The list is endless and not knowing, or fearing the worst can bring about no end of pressure to one or both of the parties involved, their extended families and, incredibly importantly, the children. Such life changing occurrences are difficult for children to understand and they too often live in fear and doubt about whether they will ever see one of their parents again, whether they have to move and change schools.
It is often best to try and resolve these issues quite early on in order to avoid the mental anxiety that can accompany the situation. As most people realise, there are various options open to them in order to settle such issues. You can go to court and let a judge decide for you both what is best, you can employ a firm of family solicitors each and allow them to argue the case for both of you or, alternatively, you can partake in mediation.
Family mediation is not a new thing, it has been practiced and regulated for over 30 years but it is something people know little about. Unless you need mediation services, why would you follow the subject on social media? There are many reasons why a person or couple may chose to use the mediation route to resolve their issues, speed, involvement in the decision making process, less confrontational and less stressful to name but a few. But what about cost?
The cost of mediation
There is no longer any legal aid to support divorces which makes any form of action through either the courts or solicitors expensive and out of reach for many people. The only alternative would be to represent yourself in court, a thing many people dread.
Luckily, the government recognises the benefits of mediation and has continued to allow legal aid support to those who qualify. If you are on a low income, with limited savings then you could qualify for legal aid. If you receive any form of benefit, for example Universal Credit then legal aid is passported for you – which means you automatically qualify.
If you do qualify for legal aid then the entire process of mediation is cost free to yourself. You will not have to pay for it. Additionally, your ex-partner will receive part funding regardless their financial situation (unless of course they too qualify for legal aid in which case they will also benefit from mediation at no cost to themselves).
Until we see your supporting documents for a legal aid claim we can not categorically say whether or not you would qualify for legal aid but anyone is more than welcome to telephone our main offices in Leeds or Bradford to be given some guidance. Alternatively, there is a legal aid calculator here where you can conduct the assessment yourself.
What if you do not qualify for legal aid?
If you do not qualify for legal aid them I am afraid there will be some cost to the mediation process. If your ex-partner qualifies for it but you do not, then part of the process will be cost free to you which will greatly reduce the cost of the service. For those who do have to pay, we keep our prices to an absolute minimum. We are a ‘not for profit’ with charitable status so are not here to make money out of anyone’s predicament, but we must have a certain level of income in order to be able to continue to offer our services to people.
We have a full page on this site explaining all of our fees, from your initial assessment through the entire mediation process, including the involvement of your children (if you and they wish them to be involved). These prices can be found here.
To give examples, if you are looking to resolve only issues surrounding your children, the cost would usually amount to £300 each. If it is a more complicated case where you have a number of issues to resolved, for example your children, property and general finances then you should expect the cost to be in the region of £700-750 each.
This may sound expensive to you but when compared to the potential financial cost of taking your case to court or involving solicitors, it is quite inexpensive.
As a side note, currently, Judges in the family court will not see a case until mediation has at least been attempted.