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Family Mediation in Swansea

About Direct Mediation Services in Swansea

“How often will I be allowed to see my kids?”

“What about the house?”

“How will our children get by?”

“Must I go to court?”

“I don’t want the children to miss out on their school trips. How will we afford it?”

“I want some time with the kids at Christmas. Who will they stay with?”

You are probably at our website because you are divorcing, or you and your ex-partner are separated. Whatever situation you face at the moment, we know that nothing is easy at this time. There is so much to sort out and you probably have lots of questions to ask about child arrangements and finances for the future. Our family mediators have been specially trained. They can help you sort things out with your ex-partner during what are difficult times for everyone. Remember, though: you are not on your own. Our specialist mediators can help. You,­ as well as your ex-partner, will benefit from their expert help as you work together and try to find the way forward – one that best suits the whole family in their future lives. Start your journey here.

A divorce or separation can cause real problems in a family and grandparents can be equally impacted, especially when it comes to the time they spend with their grandchildren. One way of dealing with family problems relating to contact is family mediation. At Direct Mediation Services our family mediators can talk to you in person at our family mediation venue in Swansea Family Mediation (no walk-ins) or online.

Direct Mediation Services – who are you?

We are local – and national. Over 230 mediation bases spread across England and Wales means we are never very far from you. Our venue in Swansea is in the city centre, but please always make an appointment in advance to see us. If it is difficult for you to get there, don’t worry – we can offer appointments online via Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp video, or FaceTime.

Each of our family mediators is Family Mediation Council registered. They are fully trained and keep their knowledge up to date with Continuous Professional Development. This ensures that they keep up-to-date and know recent developments in the law. The mediators have different backgrounds, but are all professionals. Above all, they each understand the challenges faced by people in a similar situation to you.

The senior management team – Stuart, Jan and Dorian – manages and oversees Direct Mediation Services. A little more about our staff:

Stuart Hanson is our Managing Partner. He is professionally accredited, both in child issues as well as financial ones, by the Family Mediation Council. He has previous experience as a family magistrate. He has also been an immigration lawyer for more than 15 years. He won a 2018 National Mediation Award, is on the Board of Directors of the College of Mediators and works internationally as a family mediator.

Jan Coulton is the firm’s supervisor. She is renowned in family mediation circles and has twice been nominated Family Mediator of the Year: first in 2018 and then again in 2020. She is an accredited trainer, working with mediators worldwide. A qualified solicitor, she chairs the College of Mediators. Jan has been influential in setting national standards around family mediation.

Dr. Dorian Ramirez Sosa is Office and Finance Manager. Dorian has a PhD from the University of Leeds. He belongs to the College of Mediators as a lay member. Dorian manages the whole admin team, ensuring our online systems continue to work seamlessly and effectively. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Our helpline is available Monday to Friday during normal office hours, capably staffed by Tash and Hannah. They will help you book your appointment and assist with any questions you have about the whole process.

How can family mediation help you?

Family mediation is an unknown area for many people. People often first think of finding a family solicitor if they face difficulties with family issues, divorce being the main example. However, this is not how it works everywhere. In some countries, the natural first place to turn to would be a family mediator. Family mediation is more established than you might think: it has been around ever since the 1970s. It really works. This has also been recognised by the judicial process. In both England and Wales, family courts have now made family mediation a key part of the process. Now, before you can make an application to court, either for financial orders or child arrangements, you will need to first go to an accredited mediator to attempt family mediation. Going to court is now always the last option –all other kinds of dispute resolution must have been considered and not worked.

So why use family mediation as a way to help resolve your problems? Here are a few of the benefits:

  • The fact is, your children never want to have to see the two of you fighting. You may not still be together any more, but you are both still their parents. They really want you to find a solution together. If you can do this, it will be better all round for your children.
  • Stress levels – no one is claiming that mediation is easy. It is certainly much less stressful than having to go to court and get cross examined in an adversarial setting. Mediation is about the two of you working together, finding a solution that is right for you and you can both work with.
  • Time – there are long waiting lists for family courts hearing dates. Not to put too fine a point on it, your life is likely to be on hold – probably for many months. On the other hand, you can usually get a mediation appointment in just a few days. This means that you can get down to sorting out the issues that you face almost straightaway.
  • Decision making – through mediation, it is you and your former partner who make the decisions. The two of you have the final say. If you go to court, the judge or magistrate will make the decisions. Of course, they do not know you, they do not know your family. There is no guarantee that a decision will be made, and whatever decision the judge or magistrate comes to and is documented in an order is binding on you. It is something you will have to live with, even if you don’t like the outcome.
  • Environment – mediation takes place at a neutral place, or if it is online you can be in your own home where you feel more comfortable. We do always ask you to make sure you cannot be overheard, though. Mediation is private and confidential. You also need to attend by yourself, unless you have special support needs.
  • Money – finances are nearly always particularly tight when you are going through the added pressures of divorce or separation. Court battles where you each have your own family solicitor and barrister quickly get very expensive, costing several hundreds of pounds an hour with lots of preparation time spent before you even get to court; you could end up paying many thousands of pounds on legal fees. Mediation costs much less. Our rates are fixed at £130 for each person per hour that you are actually in mediation sessions.

The Mediation Process

MIAM

The first contact you will have with your mediator is when you have your MIAM appointment. This stands for Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting. Your ex-partner will not be at this meeting with you. This is a confidential discussion between you and your mediator. If you decide by the end of this meeting that you would like to proceed with mediation, your ex-partner will have their own MIAM. Similarly, you will not be at their MIAM.

Your MIAM will last between 30 minutes and an hour. You will use this time to speak with your mediator about what you see has been happening, the things you want to achieve through mediation, and learn more about how the mediation process will work. Your mediator will assess during this meeting whether he/she thinks mediation could be suitable for you and your situation.

The quickest way a MIAM can be arranged is if you have it online. You can decide to have it in person, but you need to bear in mind that it will take more time to arrange a suitable appointment.

After you and your ex-partner have both had your MIAMs and all three of you (you, your ex-partner, and the mediator) agree that your case is suitable for mediation, the next step will be your first actual mediation session together.

Do I have to face up to my ex right away, then?

Not necessarily. It can be very difficult for some people to be in the same space as their ex at this stage. If this is how you feel, we can offer “Shuttle” mediation.

You will not be in the same room as your ex-partner and you will not have direct contact with them. The mediator will move between the two of you. Of course, this takes more time. If conversations are difficult, though, it can be the most effective way forward.

If you feel able to be in the same space as your ex-partner, face-to-face mediation might be better. You and your ex-partner will discuss your issues directly with the mediator present to make sure the conversation keeps focused and constructive. This could be a joint meeting online, or face-to-face in a room. Whichever you choose, your mediator will discuss your options during your MIAMs and will also keep a check on how the discussions are working.

Mediation sessions

The first thing to agree at your first meeting is the Agreement to Mediate. You will both need to read it and agree it with the mediator. You will also agree the agenda – the things you jointly need to discuss. This is key to the mediation process. It helps the mediator to plan how your sessions need to be structured and keep your discussions on track. At any point, either of you can ask to add to or change these agenda points.

You will probably need between one and three mediation sessions (after the MIAM). It would be unusual to need more than three, but it really depends on how much you have to resolve, how much you agree on, and how you work together. Remember, though, that mediation is always a voluntary process. No one will be forced to attend.

You will be sent a session record after each session. This is the mediator’s summary of what was discussed through the session. It will not record everything that was said. You can make your own notes during the sessions if you want. You will not be allowed to record the session, though.

If mediation is successful and you both agree a resolution, it will be written down for you. If it is about financial matters, you will get an Open Financial Statement (OFS), which is a record of assets, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); this records what you have both agreed. If you have been talking about child arrangements, the agreement can be written up to form a Parenting Plan if you wish.

The mediation certificate

Sometimes, unfortunately, mediation might not work for you for whatever reason and, despite all efforts, mediation can break down. If so, you can ask your mediator for a mediation certificate. This will permit you to start the process to make an application for an order through the courts. There is no extra charge to issue a mediation certificate. It will be sent as a PDF document by email.

Paying for family mediation

Family mediation can be paid for in one of two ways: privately or with Legal Aid.

Although Legal Aid is no longer given for many legal situations, it is still available for family mediation. Legal aid is for people receiving certain benefits or on a low income. If you think you might qualify, you can  call our national helpline, 01134689593, selecting option 2. Alternatively, you can apply easily via our website. We need you to send your application using our online platform and send some documents to support your application. We will assess your application, which takes 10 working days, then send you the result. If you do not qualify, the reasons will be explained by email. We are sorry, but our admin team are not allowed to give the decisions by telephone.

If you qualify, all your MIAM and mediation sessions will be paid for by your Legal Aid. It will also pay for your ex-partner’s MIAM and the first hour of their mediation sessions.

Private mediation costs £130 per hour for each person. £130 is charged for the MIAM, even if it does not take a full hour. This is because the mediator must block out the full hour in their diary. In the case of shuttle mediation, £130 is charged for the session, even though you will have less time speaking with your mediator in these types of session. The mediator will discuss with you the costs for writing up any final documents (OFS, MOU and/or Parenting Plan, as discussed earlier). All mediation fees must be paid in advance or when the session begins.

Direct Mediation Services in Swansea

Our mediation venue in Swansea is at Princess House, Princess Way, Swansea, SA1 3LW. Please do not come to the address if you don’t have an appointment, because we will not be able to see you.

Swansea is both a city and county, known officially as the City and County of Swansea (Welsh: Dinas a Sir Abertawe) on the southwest coast of Wales within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan and the ancient Welsh commote of Gŵyr. Swansea Bay (Welsh: Bae Abertawe) and the Gower Peninsula are both in the county area. Swansea’s position on the southwest coast of Wales is The second largest city in Wales and twenty-fifth largest city in the United Kingdom, Swansea’s population was 241,300 in 2014; this makes it the second most populous local authority area in Wales, second only to Cardiff. The wider Urban Area including Neath and Port Talbot, had a population of 300,352 in 2011.

Swansea’s nickname Copperopolis comes from its 19th-century industrial heyday, when it was a key centre of the copper-smelting industry.

Direct Mediation Services

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.

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