Why have I been referred?
Your solicitor will have referred you to Focus for one of a number of reasons which may include:
- You may be thinking about making a court application, but your solicitor thinks that mediation may be more effective and has suggested that you contact us to find out more. Even if you end up going through court, the court expects you to have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before making an application to the court. Guidance about this can be found in the Protocol to the Family Procedure Rules.
- You can’t get legal aid to cover the cost of legal advice or going to court, but legal aid is still available for mediation. If you qualify for legal aid and have a mediation session, this will usually allow you to access a certain amount of free legal advice from a legal aid lawyer. Legal Aid is administered by the Legal Aid Agency.
- You have told your solicitor that you want to try to resolve the issues as amicably as possible and feel that you and your former partner may be able to work together to do this.
What happens next?
On the day that we receive your details, we will make contact with both you and the other person involved to see if you want to arrange an Information and Assessment Meeting. This is to enable you to find out more about mediation before you make a decision about whether you want to try mediation.
At the assessment meeting, you will have a discussion with one of our Mediators when you can explain your issues and any concerns that you may have in a confidential setting.
The Mediator will discuss with you whether or not mediation is suitable in your particular case and, if it is, whether you would like to go ahead with mediation. If you want to try mediation, the next step will be for the first mediation session to be arranged at a time that suits each of you.
There are occasions when the mediator considers that mediation is not suitable for your case. You will be informed of this, but we will be unable to explain the reason why.
It is likely that you will need to have a MIAM within the previous four months if you intend to make a court application.