Family mediation helps couples resolve issues out of Court relating to children, money or both. Mediation is usually a cheaper and quicker process than the Court process and allows you to make your own decisions and set your own agenda.
You attend a series of meetings with your separated partner and an independent mediator to discuss issues. The mediator will assist you in reaching an agreement which works for both of you.
If an agreement is reached, a mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and ask both of you to sign it. An MoU is not a legally binding agreement but you are able to take it to your solicitor to convert it into a legally binding document which in some circumstances can be presented to the Court to assist with your divorce or civil partnership dissolution.
Legal aid is no longer available for the vast majority of family law cases. If certain criteria do not exist in your personal circumstances (usually in relation to domestic violence and child welfare issues) then you will not receive legal aid, no matter what your income. Many people as a result have been left in the situation where they cannot afford a solicitor to help them with their family law issues.
Legal aid is however available for family mediation which means you may not have to pay for it. You can also then access some legal advice from a solicitor under the same legal aid agreement as that which you have received for family mediation.
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