Child Maintenance Arrangements in Mediation
In family mediation, your mediator will have access to the calculator and the formula for working out the amount of child maintenance. Remember, in mediation, you do not have to go by the calculated amount but it does give you a starting point for negotiation. Because you are negotiating outside the statutory system, you are free to come up with your own agreement and this will be referred to as a family based arrangement.
Mediators look at both parent’s income and expenditure and help you to work out what your family needs to live separately. It may be possible to increase income or decrease expenditure and the mediator will help you work out a budget so that you can both manage. The important factor in mediation is that you get to fully understand the financial position of both parties and you can look at various options before making final decisions. You will also be given time to think it through.
Because the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is not free, your family will be significantly better off making their own arrangement. There will be an application fee of £20 charged to choose to use the Child Maintenance Service. After this assessment has been made, you have a choice as to whether you continue to use the service to collect the payments. If you make your own arrangements for payment, there will be no further charges. If however, you with the CMS to collect and process the payments for you, there will be a charge taken from each payment. The paying parent will pay an extra 20% to use the service and the receiving parent will have their maintenance reduced by 7%, so that the charges are shared.
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
National Family Mediation (NFM) services charge £25-£100 for a MIAM, depending on geographical locality, which may include the fee for the completed FM1 form. Meetings usually last for 45 minutes – 1 hour. This includes the means assessment to check whether you will be eligible for Legal Aid, determining whether your mediation will be free or not. Mediation sessions which follow the initial MIAM are charged at a sliding scale according to income, but start at around £80 per session, and usually last up to 1½ hours.
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.