Family Law Mediation Lawyers Sheffield, York & Leeds

We are now able to offer online mediation.

Going through family breakdown can be an extremely stressful time and can often be overwhelming for those involved. Our accredited and experienced mediator can help guide separating couples through their options and support them in discussing and resolving the issues that result from their separation. Typically those issues relate to the arrangements for their children or the division of their financial assets.

We have modern, comfortable offices in Leeds, Sheffield and York where we can arrange for your mediation sessions to take place and we can offer online mediation so that you can take part from the comfort of your own home.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process allowing a couple to discuss issues involved in the breakdown of a relationship and, with the help of the mediator, agree those issues between themselves without court proceedings.

The mediator is impartial so they do not tell those taking part in mediation what they should agree on. Their role is to assist those involved to have constructive and amicable discussions and help them reach an agreement.

In cases that involve financial matters, the mediator can help the parties disclose their financial information to each other so that they can make fully informed decisions. This process is often much quicker and cheaper than if the same process was done through solicitors or the court.

For more information about family mediation please see our frequently asked questions.

What are the advantages of Mediation?

  • Mediation is amicable

Many couples who are going through a separation want to maintain a good relationship with each other, especially when children are involved. Family mediation offers an opportunity for separating parents to work together with the help and support of an experienced professional.

  • The discussions in mediation are without prejudice

This means that should mediation breakdown without an agreement being reached and one party makes an application to court the discussions that took place in mediation cannot be referred to. This allows the parties to have their discussions and explore their options without anxieties that things they say might be used against them in potential court proceedings.

  • The Cost of Mediation

Typically the costs of mediation are significantly less than pursuing the matter through court proceedings. 

  • You are in control 

In mediation you are the one that makes the decision. Mediation allows for those involved to reach an agreement that works for them in their particular circumstances which may not look anything like the decision the court would make. If you apply to court then you are inviting a judge to make the decision. Statistics show that if you are able to reach an agreement together, especially when it is about the arrangements for children, it is more likely to be stuck to without further difficulties down the line.

How does mediation work: Step by Step

  1. Referral: We receive a referral from you or your solicitor. Usually all this contains is names and contact details for you and your ex-partner.
  1. Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM): We arrange a one-to-one meeting with you and the mediator at a convenient time. This is an opportunity for the mediator to explain more about family mediation and answer any questions you may have. The mediator will also take some time to understand your circumstances and the issues you wish to discuss in mediation. Your former partner will also be invited to their own MIAM.

For online meetings, we will send you an email invite which contains a link to the meeting. All you will need to do is click on the link on your computer, laptop or tablet and it will take you to the meeting.

  1. Joint Meeting(s): Assuming everyone wishes to proceed with mediation, then a joint meeting will be arranged at a convenient time for everyone.

As before, for online mediations an invite to this meeting will be emailed to you and all you will need to do is follow that link to join the meeting. You will then be held in a virtual waiting room until the start of the mediation meeting and the mediator will invite you in. 

The mediator has the option of having you and your former partner in separate rooms, or in the same room depending on your preferences.

The mediator will then help you set an agenda for the meeting and guide you through your discussions. Where the issue is about finances the mediator would usually help you and your former partner prepare a schedule of your belongings before starting to explore how the assets should be shared.

Joint meetings usually take about 1 ½ hours. Depending on the issues that need resolving, on average 2-4 joint meetings are needed.

  1. Summary Documents: Once an agreement has been reached, the mediator will prepare summary documents for your records and, if necessary, for you to take to your solicitors to help them advise you and prepare documents that will be legally binding, although this only usually necessary when the issues are in relation to financial matters. 

Our Mediation Service

Lupton Fawcett offer a number of options when it comes to family mediation.

We recognise that every situation is different, therefore, our bespoke family mediation service can be designed to suit your needs. With the help of our mediator we can put together a package that works for you.

We have strong relationships with other professionals, such as financial advisors, accountants and family therapists. We can bring them into the mediation sessions to help you understand the implications of the options for financial settlements or help demystify some of the complexities of pensions.

The mediator can discuss these options with you during your Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). 

I am interested in mediation, what do I need to do?

We accept referrals from solicitors or individuals.

To make a referral or ask us a question about mediation, you can get in touch with our Leeds, Sheffield or York office by calling us on 0333 323 5292, by emailing us or by filling on our enquiry form and letting us know a suitable time to call you back.

Once we receive a referral we will contact you directly to arrange a mutually convenient date for you to meet with a mediator.

The initial meeting, known as a MIAM, will take place with you and the mediator alone and if your case is deemed suitable for mediation, your ex-partner will be involved in subsequent meetings.

The service we received was excellent and we were impressed by your professional and sympathetic approach. It was good to understand the processes involved in what was a complex case. In comparison to the responding solicitors, we were very impressed by the detail of your letters and the care in which you took to represent our concerns. Should the need arise in the future, we would have no hesitation in contacting you. Thank you once again for your guidance and support Richard (Buckley).

Mr and Mrs Davis

You have been outstanding on getting this total nightmare resolved! And I applaud you whole heartedly.

Casey Munday

Lupton Fawcett’s Family team, in particular Richard Buckley, have consistently provided a service that was not only strong, balanced and responsive but also never lost sight of the deeply personal and emotional nature of my case.

Mr Shaw

Why Choose Lupton Fawcett?

Having advised and supported many local families, individuals and businesses, we are proud to offer clients a dedicated service from specialist solicitors who are experts in their field:

We're Award Winning

We were awarded the Legal 500 HR/Employment Law team of the year in 2017

We're Connected

We're connected to the people, businesses and infrastructure throughout Yorkshire

We Put You First

You can be sure to expect superb client service from us. Our clients are our priority

We're accredited

Recognised by leading Legal Directories Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I still need to go to court?

The aim of mediation is to resolve matters without the need to go to court. Mediation has a high success rate of helping separated couples reach an agreement and therefore there would be no need to attend court.

Often in financial matters, as part of a divorce, it will be necessary for solicitors to prepare a document called a Consent Order, which details the agreement you have reached in mediation. This needs to be sent to court for a Judge to endorse for it to become a legally binding agreement but usually there is no need for you to have to attend court at any stage.

What technology do I need for Online Mediation?

We prefer to use Microsoft Teams for online mediations as it is really easy to use and ensures our meetings are confidential. We send you a link for the meeting by email. You may need to download a free App in advance of the meeting.

You will need a secure internet connection and a computer, laptop or tablet with a camera and microphone. You can use a smartphone if you wish, but having a larger screen is preferable as we often share documents that you will need to be able to view.

I wasn’t married to my ex partner, can we still use mediation?

Yes, mediation is suitable for any couples who have separated and have things that need sorting out as a result of their separation. Mediation is suitable if you were not married, in a same-sex relationship and/or civil partnership. We also have experience mediating in cases between grandparents and parents or other family members.

What is the difference between mediation and collaborative law? Which is best?

There are many similarities between mediation and collaborative law. They both provide a way of supporting couples who have separated talk in an amicable and constructive way about the issues that need resolving as a result of their breakup, such as the arrangements for their children and issues around finances.

A mediator is impartial and therefore cannot give legal advice, whereas in the collaborative process you each appoint your own collaborative lawyer who is then able to give you legal advice and support. Please see our pages on collaborative law and mediation for more information.

Neither option is better than the other. There are advantages of both options so it is about deciding on what is best for you and your family in your particular circumstances. Richard Buckley is an experienced mediator and collaborative lawyer so fully appreciates the benefits of both options and is happy to discuss any questions you have about each option.

What is a Memorandum of Understanding and an Open Financial Summary?

These are summary documents prepared by the mediator usually following the successful conclusion of mediation. They are designed to help you have all the information provided in mediation and a summary of the agreement reached. They will also help lawyers advise you on the proposed agreement and prepare the documents necessary to implement that agreement.

The Open Financial Summary is prepared in financial matters and sets out the financial disclosure, usually with supporting documentation, that you and your ex-partner have provided to the mediator during the course of mediation.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a summary of the discussions and proposals for agreement that you are making. It is a without prejudice document which means it does not form a legally binding agreement and cannot be shown to court.

Are the agreements legally binding?

Any agreements reached in mediation are not legally binding. As you are likely to be discussing issues that are very important to you and have significant long term consequences it is only right and necessary that you have the opportunity of discussing your proposals with a legal advisor before making the agreement legally binding. At the conclusion of the mediation the mediator will prepare summary documents setting out what is being proposed to help them advise you and incorporate any agreement into a legally binding document, if necessary.

I am worried about seeing my ex partner again, is mediation suitable? Do we have to be in the same room/online meeting?

Firstly, it is entirely normal for there to be nerves about engaging in mediation whether you haven’t seen your ex since separation or you see them regularly. Part of the mediator’s role is to support you through the mediation and ensure the pace of the meeting is right for you and your ex.

Usually mediation takes place with both of you and the mediator all in the same room but if you do not want to sit in the same room together then we can arrange a “shuttle mediation” where you will each have a separate room and the mediator will travel between the two.

For some people, having the mediation take place online makes them feel more comfortable seeing and talking with their former partner so this might be a good option for you.

Sometimes it is helpful for separated couples to be in separate rooms and for the mediator to go between the two rooms. We are able to offer this facility for online mediations as well – the mediator can put you and your ex partner in separate virtual meeting rooms.

There are some circumstances where mediation is not appropriate but this can be talked through with the mediator during the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, which is a confidential meeting between you and the mediator.

What if my ex doesn’t want to mediate?

Mediation, whether online or face-to-face, is voluntary so we cannot force anyone to engage with mediation unless they chose to. However, we are always happy to provide information and speak with anyone about mediation and address any concerns they may have before the commit to mediation.

What is a MIAM?

A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is usually your first meeting with the mediator. You attend this meeting on your own and not with your ex-partner. During the meeting the mediator will explain the mediation process to you and answer any questions you may have. It is also an opportunity for the mediator for find out about you and your circumstances so that they can assess whether mediation is suitable and also understand what you are hoping to achieve out of mediation. Following the MIAM you should be in a position to make an informed decision about whether you wish to proceed with mediation.

Do I have to come to mediation before court?

In most cases relating to arrangements for children or financial matters, the family court proceedings may not be started unless, at the very least, you have attended a MIAM, unless an exemption applies. If mediation is considered unsuitable then the mediator can sign a form for you at this stage which will allow you to proceed with your court application. Mediation is voluntary and therefore there is no obligation for you to proceed with mediation following the MIAM if you do not want to.

How long does mediation take?

This really depends on you and your ex-partner and how complex the issues are that you wish to resolve. Generally, if you are discussing either only issues around children or finances then this can be resolved, on average, in 2 or 4 joint sessions of 90 minutes each.

One of the big advantages of mediation is that it can go at your pace. If you want a number of meetings in quick succession then we can arrange this for you. If you prefer to space the meetings out to give time to reflect on the issues discussed, then this is fine too.

Being able to offer online mediation often means it is easier to find a time when everyone is available because there is no need to plan in travel time, so online mediation can sometimes be concluded quicker than face-to-face mediations.

Get In Touch Today!

Get In Touch Today!

Please complete this form to make an enquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Remember you can still call us on 0333 323 5292 or email us at law@luptonfawcett.law

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.