What is an Assessment Meeting?

This is a free 30-minute meeting between you and a Mediator to find out more about how Mediation might help you find solutions to your own particular family legal problems. The Government wish to encourage families who turn to the law for help to first find out whether Mediation is suitable, and this will be your opportunity to be informed about how Mediation works, and to ask any questions of the Mediator which may be of concern to you.

What happens at the Meeting?
The Mediator will explain what happens in a Mediation session and will answer any questions you may have. It is the Mediator's duty to form a view whether Mediation is suitable for your circumstances and will be of positive help to you, and it will also be for you to decide whether you wish to proceed with Mediation. The Mediator will complete a brief financial form with you to find out whether you are entitled to free Mediation Legal Aid to cover future Mediation sessions, which would also qualify you to obtain free "Help with Mediation" from your solicitor, if the Mediation proceeds. To enable the Mediator to complete the form we ask you to bring proof of your income in the form of 4 recent wage slips, and any State benefit / Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit documents. If you do not qualify for Mediation Legal Aid, the Mediator will explain how much a 1½-hour Mediation session will cost.

Do I come on my own or with my former partner?
The Mediation process itself will expect that you and your former partner meet together with a mediator. The Assessment Meeting will be for you to attend on your own. This offers you the opportunity to discuss with the mediator your own views about taking part in Mediation with your former partner.

What happens if I decide that I do not want to have Mediation?
There will be no pressure on you to choose Mediation if you decide that it is not suitable for you. At the end of the Assessment Meeting, if you and / or the Mediator decide that Mediation would not be helpful at the present time, then you would need to seek advice from a solicitor or issue an application at court. What happens if one of us wants to have Mediation but the other does not? Mediation can only work if both people involved are committed to resolve their differences in this way. In the circumstances that one person is unwilling to proceed with Mediation, we will respect that choice but always keep the door open to the possibility of Mediation taking place at a later date, if you both subsequently come to the mutual view that you would like to try the Mediation option.