Tracy Cross is an FMC Accredited Family Mediator and is able to conduct different types of mediation including hybrid mediation and child inclusive mediation.
Mediation is a process which gives an opportunity for parties to sort things out with their former partner or spouse without using the Court process or engaging in expensive lawyer led communication. It is often called an alternative ‘dispute resolution’ process.
The main benefits of mediation are that:
- it’s quick.
- It’s cost effective and you only pay for the sessions you have, so easy to budget.
- The parties remain in control of the decisions that are made rather than an outcome being imposed on them: and
- it promotes working together which can be very important where children are involved – you are not limited to Court solutions; you can be creative and have solutions which work specifically for you and your family.
Mediation works by having joint meetings with your chosen mediator. At those meetings you and your former partner/spouse decide what you need to deal with and that can include everything to do with money and children.
The mediator helps you focus on the issues and come up with solutions to try to resolve areas of difficulty to exploring compromise and reality testing options. The process is not limited to helping couples with divorce or separation. It can help with wider family issues as well, such as grandparents.
Many people talk about divorce mediation, family mediation, legal mediation, or marital mediation – the terminology all generally means the same thing – a joint meeting with someone qualified to act as an independent, professionally trained mediator.
Mediation is not therapy and the process usually begins with an individual meeting with the mediator to discuss the issues and the mediation process before considering what type of mediation may be appropriate. If any therapeutic need is identified this may be discussed and signposted.
What is Child Inclusive Mediation (otherwise known as CIM)?
It is unlikely that children would be involved in the actual meetings with their parents and the mediator. CIM gives the child(ren), usually if aged 10 years or over, the opportunity to meet with the mediator separately. The child(ren) can discuss whatever they like with the mediator and they may decide to give permission to the mediator to feed back some of their thoughts and views to their parents.
This can sometimes help parents move forward with issues they are trying to resolve. It can be empowering for children to have the option to speak to someone independent, especially if they also know that person is helping their parents to talk and make decisions that impact on them.
Children are only included in the mediation process with the agreement and co-operation of both parents.
For further enquiries or to make a mediation referral please contact our mediator, Tracy Cross.
Can my solicitor help me in mediation?
Tracy Cross is qualified to deliver the hybrid mediation process. This means that your lawyers can be involved in the process so that they are on hand to advise you about outcomes. This can give people confidence to discuss outcomes in more detail and can also mean that decisions can be made more quickly.
People who use the hybrid mediation model can benefit greatly from negotiating in a very conciliatory environment with their lawyer’s support. An agreement can be drafted and signed at the time of the meeting, providing certainty from the point of leaving mediation and moving forward.
Frequently Asked Questions
First of all, you and your former partner/spouse will be seen separately at a cost of £150 plus VAT. If you progress to joint sessions, these normally last around 2-3 hours and cost £250 per hour plus vat. These costs are normally shared equally between parties unless you agree otherwise and the session is paid for at the time it takes place. At the end of the process, paperwork can be produced to confirm what happened in the process and if you have achieved any solutions. There will normally be a fee for producing this documentation which will be agreed with you. The maximum will normally be the same cost as a session although may be less depending on the contents.
That really depends on you and the other party and how quickly you can reach agreement about the issues. Sometimes, one session is enough. Often, where family finances are involved, you’ll need at least 2, usually because financial documentation needs to be gathered. Sometimes, for children’s issues, you may have a session and then have some time to see how things work before coming back to review things. The average is probably 3-5 sessions, but this is by no means written in stone or essential.
No, the mediator is not a Judge and won’t tell you what to do. A mediator is neutral, and their role is to remain impartial and unbiased. Tracy Cross is also an experienced family solicitor and can therefore help you think of constructive ways to sort things out. The mediator cannot give you legal advice. If you need legal advice before you can go any further, you will be encouraged to get that advice and then consider a further session to look at the options for resolving the case again. Choosing an experienced solicitor mediator can often save you time and money.
Probably not very long. A court process these days is around 1 year plus. Most mediations are resolved within 3-4 months. The frequency of meetings is not prescriptive. Duration of meetings is not prescriptive either and some people choose to mediate over the course of a day or half day. Because matters are discussed face to face, a lot can be achieved in the time available.
Usually, yes you will. The main point of mediation is that you and your former partner/spouse communicate constructively to find solutions to whatever issues there are between you. Whilst sometimes, you can mediate effectively by remaining in separate rooms (known as shuttle mediation), it works better if you can be in a room together to talk things through. If being in the same room is an absolute no, the reasons for this need to be considered and if you really want to go ahead with mediation, a shuttle mediation may work for you.
This is unlikely. If the children are at an age where you think they need to have some input in the decisions that you make for them, you can discuss this within the mediation and look at ways that this information can be best obtained. It’s usually much better for children to see their parents working together to come to solutions which then work best for them, rather than involving them in the dispute. What mediation is very good for, is helping parents find ways to continue to co-parent so that the children are not badly effected by the family changes that are going on. Often, lack of or poor communication between parents, is the main problem for children of divorced or separated parents.
If after the meetings you just can’t find a way forward, your mediator will look at other options for you to move forward and this may involve legal advice or different dispute resolution options
No, you don’t. Mediation is entirely voluntary and is unlikely to work if you feel forced into it. The reason why there is an initial individual meeting is so that your reasons for mediating can be explored with you and information given as to what to expect from the sessions.
It is true that the Courts and indeed the Government would prefer everyone to mediate rather than go to Court. It is an option that is worth exploring and you can get further information about mediation without committing to the process at all.
Yes. As an accredited family mediator, I can sign forms necessary to enable an application to the Court to be made if mediation breaks down, or if I assess that mediation is not suitable to the case.
No, unfortunately not. The mediator is there as a neutral person to assist with communication. Another individual in the sessions can cause more problems than are likely to be solved by lending moral support. Where the circumstances suggest it would help, and everyone agrees, hybrid mediation may be helpful. This will mean that your lawyers can assist you with advice during the session, although dealt with separately to the main session itself. Lawyers don’t take an active part in the discussion and are there to just assist with advice about any suggestions made. This can give confidence when discussing possible outcomes and reaching final solutions.
Contact us, look at our useful links below for further information, and tell your former partner/spouse about it too. If they agree that it’s a good idea, they can contact us as well and we can then talk you both through the next steps. All of that can be done over the phone and we can send you forms necessary to get the ball rolling.