How much does mediation cost?

Research shows that mediation is cost-effective, and quicker than using lawyer negotiation or taking things through the family court.
 
The National Audit Office Report 'Legal Aid and Mediation for People involved in Family Breakdown' (2007) stated that 'the average cost of legal aid in non-mediated cases is estimated at £1,682, compared with £752 for mediated cases, representing an additional annual cost to the taxpayer of some £74 million'. In 2012, the average cost per client for mediation was £675 compared to £2,823 for cases going to court.  This in an average cost saving of £2,148.
 
The report goes on that state that 'mediated cases are quicker to resolve, taking on average 110 days, compared with 435 days for non-mediated cases'. Therefore the average time saving is 325 days (10.5 months).
 
Legal aid remains available for family mediation.
 
Use this link to find out more about a Government scheme providing more free mediation sessions. 
 
On average, a legal advice session is roughly £250 per hour and considerably more at £350 per hour in larger cities like London. However, the Ministry of Justice has introduced the 'help with family mediation' scheme which allows clients who are assessed as eligible for legal aid to access a free legal advice session with a lawyer (for which they can claim £150) and a free drafting of a consent order following mediation (for which they can claim £200).
 
According to Suzy Miller, author of the Alternative Divorce Guide, measuring the financial costs of a divorce, separation, dissolution of a civil partnership or child contact disputes is like 'measuring a ball of string that never stops unravelling'.
 
Novitas Investments, who in 2011 launched a fund to help cover the rising cost of divorces, state that 'solicitors require payment and with an average cost in London of £40,000 a side (£80,000 in total), and £13,000 outside the capital (£26,000 in total), the financial effect on the parties in dispute about family issues can be substantial'.
 
National Family Mediation member services have pledged to make mediation available to all regardless of ability to pay. However our members must obviously cover their costs to remain financially viable and accessible. As a consequence all member services have a charging policy.
 
Charging Policy
 
The current situation is as follows:
 
Exemptions
  • Free for clients funded by Legal Aid (through the Legal Aid Agency). A means assessment is undertaken with the client to check eligibility for legal aid.
Approach to fees
  • each local NFM member service sets its own fees
  • most operate a sliding scale based on client income
  • some operate fixed fees
  • some charge lower fees for mediation involving children’s issues only (average 5 hours) and higher fees for mediation on all issues (average 12 hours)

Details*:

  • Fees for an initial meeting, sometimes called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) or an intake meeting start at £30 per person. They will usually not be more than £120 per person. The average charge is around £65 per person (but this will vary from location to location).
  • A separate initial meeting usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, but a joint initial meeting (where both parties attend together and may be seen separately by the mediator for part of the meeting) will usually last slightly longer and is usually offered at slightly lower rate for the parties than the cost per person.  The average charge of a joint initial meeting is around £115 (but this will vary from location to location)
  • Full mediation sessions usually last for 1.5 hours. A child issues mediation (which is specifically about child arrangements) usually lasts between 1-2 sessions. A property and finance mediation usually lasts between 3-4 sessions. A AIM (all issues mediation) usually takes up to 5 sessions. Our about family mediation section details what can be expected in the mediation process, as well as what each of these sessions might entail (see drop down sections within the stages of the mediation process). Please be aware that this is only a guide and is dependent on the complexity of the dispute.
  • Fees for a first mediation session (often called a planning meeting) is on average £100 per person (but this will vary from location to location)
  • Fees for a child issues mediation session is on average £110 per person (but this will vary from location to location).
  • Fees for a property and finance mediation session is on average £130 per person (but this will vary from location to location).
  • Fees for an all issues mediation (AIM) is on average £140 person person (but this will vary from location to location).
  • Documentation drafted by the mediator during and following mediation might incur additional costs. An outcome statement and/or parenting agreement for a child issues case is on average £22. A Memorandum of Understanding following a property and finances or an all issues mediation is on average £100. An FM1 (to be requested as part of the Pre-Application Protocol) is on average £65. Again, these costs might not apply or will vary from location to location.

* Please be aware that these details are only a rough guide to charges and are based on the National Family Mediation network's average national charges sourced from a national fee framework survey conducted in 2012. Specific charges vary and are dependent on the fee structure subscribed to by the local member service, the location of the service, and the type and complexity of the case which will impact on the number of sessions, number of mediators involved and documentation produced. Some member services operate payment plans.

Fixed Fee Packages

Some National Family Mediation member services have chosen to develop partnership schemes and in some cases, fixed fee packages with their local solicitors. For further information about  these partnership shemes and fixed fee packages, please contact your local member service.

Family Mediation will keep help the costs of your separation, divorce or dissolution down. Family Mediation is often cheaper and quicker than litigation or the court route and has longer lasting outcomes, benefitting all parties involved, especially the children. Mediation offers separating partners the opportunity to think through their pension options as part of financial settlement and to come to decisions that will work for you both. Your mediator will know what information you will need and the right time to seek advice.

National Family Mediation (NFM) is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family

If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area. All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.

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