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:
  • 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)

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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