Divorce - the mediation time you need

It's difficult to guess at the timescale

When we refer to “divorce” on this page we are not talking about your actual separation in law by order of the Court. We assume you do not need our help with that. We are concerned to help you with issues relating largely to children and money.

Every dispute is unique. It’s impossible for us to guess what would be the perfect timescale to resolve all the problems between you and your ex-partner.

The Mediator cannot help

We just do not know how long you will to talk and come to an agreement. It depends on:

  • how many issues there are;
  • how seriously you now disagree;
  • whether the mediation will involve prior assessment of documents such as business accounts, pension calculations or property valuations. As a good rule of thumb, the Mediator will spend an hour on preliminary work for every two hours spent with you.
  • whether either of you wants to use mediation to pass ideas by the Mediator when you have provisionally agreed them, but just have some lingering doubt.

Consider these options:

  • We will accept the Mediator’s basic advice and go for two three-hour or four-hour sessions, knowing that we can cancel the second one for a full money refund if by chance we don’t need it.
  • “We have agreed most points. Three hours is quite long enough to sort out just a couple of last matters. If it turns out that we need longer, we will book another session.”
  • “We live a long way apart. We shall have to try to settle this through online mediation and maybe the occasional online meeting through Skype or some other means.”
  • “There is a lot at stake here. Since the Mediator cannot personally advise either of us we might need to go back to our solicitors for final advice. We will decide on two sessions, a few days apart, at whatever time of the day best suits us.”
  • “The Mediator really needs to see our business situation, accounts and consider the possibilities for us. We will book to 4 hours or a full day together and hope the Mediator can give it enough time before we meet, to understand the problems.”
  • “We are already into litigation. Our solicitors have advised us to try mediation. They will be present with us throughout the mediation process. We will book a full day and hope we can sort everything out.”

Two or more sessions may be needed

The second session is required most often when one of you needs to provide additional information, for example a professional report or valuation, or you wish to take time to consider a particular proposal, or you wish to consult your solicitor or other adviser before agreeing to a proposal.

If it is obvious to the Mediator that a further session is required, then he will do his utmost to allocate further time that suits you too.

We do not charge for a short overrun of time. We do charge for an overrun exceeding 30 minutes or requiring an additional session.

Careful planning pays

It is very easy to underestimate the time you will need. You may need to explain difficulties at length or negotiate new proposals arising in the course of the mediation process. It is more efficient to book an adequate length of time in the first place then to have to book multiple sessions. Although no one can plan how the mediation session will progress, it is always beneficial to start with a clear plan of what you want to say and what you want to achieve from the process.

It is a good idea to make provision for an over-run by avoiding commitments that require a “school bell” approach to your next engagement.

When you decided what time you need, you can complete the Request to Mediate form then have a final look at our prices page. From there we shall take you to the Diary page to make a provisional booking.

Our experience is that a single long session is inappropriate. We advise that the most appropriate arrangement is for you to book 2 x three hour sessions at the outset. If you succeed in negotiating a satisfactory settlement after a single session, then you may cancel the second session. We will then refund in full, money paid for that second session. If the third session is needed, we will do our utmost to find a mutually acceptable time at the earliest date.

We have prepared a number of example mediations which may give you some idea about the time and process.

What we mean by documents

All of life today involves keeping records. We call any record a “document”. That applies in hard copy, soft copy and with any sort of file – forms, reports, financial accounts, images. If you want to be able to present your case credibly to your ex-partner, here is some advice about what documents you might need  and how best to present them to the Mediator and to your ex-partner.

When the Mediator starts work

A compact time frame for online mediation

Unless one of the parties has a technical or other problem with using email, the mediator will start the mediation process in every case with a couple of phone calls and possibly a few email messages. That clears everyone’s mind on preliminary questions so that we can all “hit the ground running” when we meet.

Furthermore, a compact time frame is most efficient because it provides continuity. Both the Mediator and the parties can remember “where we are at” and you are more likely to continue to be of a mind to settle and will be less distracted by other issues which are bound to arise sooner or later. For that reason, the Mediator will not start work on your mediation until a week or so before the date of the meeting. In that way, we can provide continuity.

The Mediator’s response time

However you contact the Mediator, you should not expect a reply on the same day. As you will understand, it is in the nature of the profession that a mediator will be engaged on most days. Other staff are likely to be available by email  action@themediator.co.uk, but not necessarily immediately.

Time to draw the bones of your consent order

In managing the mediation, the Mediator will take account of time needed for you to agree final terms and for him to draw an agreement based on your instructions. That agreement is likely to form the basis of your application to the Court for a financial order.

Stretch your legs

Prices charged assume that in any meeting there will be a 15 minute break every 90 minutes. Need longer? Food and drink? You decide.

So how do you start?

First, we need to know basic personal information about you and your ex-partner. For this go to our request to mediate page.

We shall then respond to what you will have told us with suggestions and instructions as to what next.

You are already well on the way to sorting out your lives.