Frequently Asked Questions
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What is legally aided family mediation?
Legal Aid is provided by the government to cover the cost of family mediation services for families in dispute.
It is means-tested. So you have to provide evidence of your current financial circumstances to prove you’re entitled to receive it. If you are eligible, Legal Aid will cover all your individual mediation costs. It will also cover costs of the initial appointment and first mediation meeting for the other person, if they’re not eligible in their own right.
Eligibility for Legal Aid also enables you to get legal aid for legal costs, up to a cost limit.
What kind of family mediation cases can get legal aid funding?
You must be eligible based on the financial assessment and your case must be capable of giving rise to family proceedings. This doesn’t mean that going to court is imminent, just that a judgement would be possible if agreement can’t be reached by other means.
Family proceedings include things like where the children will live, how they spend time with each parent or other family members. It can also include specific issues that parents may disagree about such as which school the children will go to or whether they can go abroad on holiday.
Financial matters are also included, such as child maintenance, what happens to the family home and completion of the financial disclosure required for divorce.
Who can apply for legally aided mediation?
Many people don’t realise that legal aid is available for family mediation or assume that it is only available for people who are not working.
If you are on a low income, regardless of whether you are working or not, or if your financial circumstances have changed because of your separation (for instance you are paying a lot of child or spousal maintenance) then it could be worth asking for an assessment.
What evidence do I need to provide to receive legally-aided mediation?
You will need to provide recent evidence about your household income, including your new partner’s income if you live together. A copy is kept on your mediation file and originals returned to you. Typical examples of the evidence needed include:
- Universal Credit statement or other benefit letters
- Bank statements
- Self-employed business accounts and tax return
You will also be asked about savings, investments and property ownership but will not generally need to provide documentary evidence unless your financial circumstances are unusual or complicated.
What is Help With Family Mediation?
Help with Family Mediation is a separate service provided by a solicitor to support the family mediation process. It is limited funding for legal advice and assistance in making mediated agreements legally binding. You will need to have attended at least one mediation session and concluded mediation within 4 months of applying for Help with Mediation. Your mediator will be able to provide you with more information.