FAQs

We will try to help you and your ex partner or spouse to discuss the issues that need to be resolved whether that is around arrangements for your children or a financial settlement and find a solution which is acceptable to both of you.  We do not take sides or say who is right or wrong, although we can suggest some options. We help you to restore communication between you so that you can resolve any problems in the future yourselves. 
This is in contrast to the Court process, which tends to heighten tensions between the parties and makes it very difficult to have any kind of relationship as parents in the future.

If you are splitting up from your spouse or partner, there are a hundred and one things that you need to sort out from who’s going to look after the children when to what’s going to happen to the house and where is everyone going to live?  It’s a very scary time and, because emotions are running high, it can prove near impossible to sort everything out with your soon to be ex.  We will help the two of you talk through these issues in a calm and logical way to find solutions that are right for both of you. Whilst you may well wish to take legal advice at some point, it is not always helpful to start with a solicitor as this can lead to tensions between you and your ex being heightened unnecessarily.  

 

 

We hold a preliminary assessment meeting (MIAM) with each party, this will usually be held on Zoom but can be arranged face to face if you prefer.  Once we have seen both clients, and assuming everyone still wishes to proceed to mediation, then a series of joint meetings will be arranged where you both attend at the same time to discuss the issues.  Mediation meetings may be online or face to face and this will be discussed with you at the assessment meeting.

If there have been threats or incidents of domestic violence, then the mediator should be told of this at the initial meeting so that these can be discussed and a decision made as to to whether mediation is, in fact, appropriate.

If it appears it might be helpful or if your child has expressed a wish to be heard, we can make arrangements to see your child or children at a separate meeting to offer them a chance to express any views they have.  This is now known as Child Inclusive Mediation but does not mean that the child will be part of the mediation meetings between the two of you. 


 
 

Lesley Baker - Mediator and Manager

Lesley trained as a family lawyer and qualified in 1991.  She practiced in the Thames Valley and was Head of the Family Department for a local firm until that department was closed in 2000.  She worked in all areas of family law including in domestic violence, when she was on the local Domestic Violence Forum and had strong links with the local Refuges.  Later she moved on to work on high value financial cases and was the expert in the firm at the time for the newly formed Child Support Agency calculations. 

In 2000 Lesley set up Lambda Mediation and has been practicing as a full time mediator since then.  She is a member of the College of Mediators https://www.collegeofmediators.co.uk/ and is Family Mediation Council accredited https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/, including in Child Inclusive Mediation.  Lesley is a professional supervisor to a number of other mediators of varying experience and has also trained in Civil and Commercial Mediation. 

In late 2019 Lesley moved her practice to the Welshpool area in Powys, although while most mediation work is being conducted by video conferencing, she continues to work with couples around the country and indeed abroad.  

Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)

You may have been told that you have to attend mediation before you can go to Court.  This is not strictly correct;  you do have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (or MIAM) with a mediator.  At that meeting we would explain more about how mediation works and answer any questions you have.  We would then seek information from you about your situation and what you see as being the issues.  This meeting is wholly confidential.  

A decision can then be made as to whether those issues could better be resolved in mediation but, if, having had that discussion, you do not wish to proceed or the mediator does not believe that mediation would be appropriate for you, you do not have to attend mediation.

At Lambda Mediation, we are registered with the Family Mediation Council {https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/} to conduct MIAMs and to sign your application form should you decide not to proceed with mediation or it is assessed as not appropriate for any reason. 

MIAMs are held on Zoom unless face to face is requested by the client.

Although the Child Maintenance Service can assess the amount to be paid by one parent for their children, this can take time and incur fees.  It is also difficult to vary the sum if circumstances change. 

We can help you to arrive at a figure for maintenance which is realistic and affordable to enable both parents to have enough to live and provide for their children.  If you wish to secure those payments, an Order can be obtained from the Court by consent after mediation but this is not essential. 

We would ask you to complete a form with details of your income and outgoings and work through those figures with both of you to find an appropriate figure.  In this way, you are involved in arriving at and understanding the final figure payable.

Part of the benefit of mediation is to enable you and your ex partner to have a face to face discussion in a controlled setting to work out what you are going to do together.  Whilst we can conduct the mediation with the parties sitting in separate rooms (“shuttle mediation”) this is nowhere near as effective or successful as face to face meetings.  It also increases the time and cost involved considerably.  

However, where there has been domestic abuse and one person is actually afraid to sit in the same room as the other or there is actually an injunction to prevent direct contact between you, then this can be arranged.  This is something we would discuss at the MIAM.

If the mediation is conducted on Zoom, it is possible in most cases for both parties to be on the same Zoom call; however, we can discuss at the MIAM whether parties can be placed in "breakout rooms" so that they do not have to see each other on the screen.  This may also be helpful if the discussion continually descends into unconstructive arguing.  

If you would like to bring a friend or relative to the MIAM, then you may do so, provided they understand this is your opportunity to talk freely to the mediator and they are there to listen only.  It would not be a good idea to bring anyone who you did not wish to know the details of the separation for instance. 

Once we move to mediation meetings, third parties are not allowed except in exceptional circumstances and by agreement with both parties.  If you think you might want to bring someone, please let the mediator know when making the appointment. 

If you would like to bring your solicitor, this is possible and may be helpful but again, please discuss this with the mediator first. 

Nothing that is said in mediation is in itself binding.  In financial mediation we will prepare a full set of summaries setting out your financial position and recording the proposals you are thinking of.  You can then take this back to your solicitors and they can draw up a binding agreement for you. 

In children cases, there is really nothing that is binding as arrangements for children have to be subject to revision as circumstances change.  Again, a summary of the arrangements you have come to will be sent to you but it is unlikely this would be converted into an order at this stage unless you already have ongoing court proceedings. 

If  we establish that your ex won’t come to mediation, then there is nothing further we can do, save countersign any application you subsequently make to the Court to confirm this. 

If you are separating from your spouse and have inherited property, you may feel this is yours to keep; this may be the case but may not.  Inherited property or capital is not treated the same as other assets but, if the only way everyone can be satisfactorily rehoused, is to include that inheritance then a Court would do so and this would need to be born in mind. 

If you are in dispute with other family members over an inheritance or the operation of a Power of Attorney, we can also help you to resolve this without increasing the antagonism at an already distressing time and at minimal cost to the estate. 

There can be great value for the victim of domestic abuse to engage in mediation and be able to stand up to their abuser in an environment where there is someone to support them.  In these circumstances we would probably put you and the other person in separate rooms.  Please see the section headed "Do we have to sit in the same room?"

The MIAMs are £95 each and the fees thereafter are £124 per person per hour.​  No additional charge is made for routine emails and telephone calls but preparation of paperwork is also charged at £124 per person per hour.  

Currently, if the mediation relates to arrangements for your children, a government grant of £500 is available towards the mediation fees.  If you would like to apply, please mention this to the mediator when making an appointment. 

Pensions can be a major consideration.  You will need to obtain the Transfer Values for any pension you hold even if you do not consider it to be relevant or you have agreed you will not make a claim on each other’s pension.   This figure will still need to be disclosed in order for any agreement to be binding.  
 

One of the biggest issues to be decided when you separate is usually what to do with the family home.  If it is rented you will need to decide who is to remain living there and how the other person is to be rehoused. 
If the property is owned, you will need to consider whether one of you is going to stay there and buy out the other person or whether the property is going to be sold and you will both move.  
We can help you work through the figures to find the most appropriate way to ensure your children have suitable accommodation in which to spend time with both of you.