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The CSA (Child Support Agency) stopped taking new applications in November 2013. New applications are now dealt with by the CMS (Child Maintenance Service).
The website www.cmoptions.org is a very useful resource for separating parents. It explains the role of the CMS and alternative methods of formally agreeing child maintenance payments. It includes links to other organisations who can provide emotional and practical support while going through separation. It also provides guidance and forms for couples wanting to draw up a family-based arrangement.
Family mediation can be an invaluable resource in facilitating child maintenance arrangements. Give us a call today if we can help you.
We can see you in offices across Hertfordshire Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire (Hitchin, Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City, Bedford, Luton, Watford, St Albans, Milton Keynes, Harlow, Aylesbury, North London). Legal aid available. MIAMs available. Recognised by FMC.
Telephone 07551 909509
Lord McNally, the Family Justice Minister, has made several undertakings to further promote Family Mediation to separating couples and relevant organisations. To go with its recent information video about Family Mediation, which you can find here:
the Ministry of Justice has produced a useful leaflet explaining what Family Mediation is and how to find a qualified mediator. You can access the leaflet here:
and a poster here:
Legal Aid IS STILL available for Family Mediation for people who qualify. To find out if you or your clients are likely to qualify for legal aid for family mediation you can go to the government’s online legal aid checker:
Finally, the website:
has lots of useful information on all the issues that separating couples may face.
Preparation for Mediation
Mediation is voluntary and you and your former partner have chosen mediation. How do you make the most of your mediation and increase the chances of a successful outcome?
- Listen. Being an attentive and receptive listener in the mediation gives you a good basis for expecting the same in return.
- Prepare in between sessions. Gather your thoughts and your paperwork. Take legal advice at relevant points from a family law specialist familiar with how mediation works.
- Be imaginative. This is your chance to think about solutions which might work for all of you.
- Understand the needs of children and stay focused on them and not each other.
- Be prepared to negotiate not argue. Be prepared to hear disagreement or other ideas without issuing ultimatums.
- Remember that mediation is not debating or trying to change the ideas or values of the other person or finding fault or blame but about finding a mutually agreeable solution
- Adopt a tactful approach. Take ownership of what you say and the effect this could have on the mediation. Your attitude and presentation could invite cooperation which overall can work out better for children.
- There are often a range of possible options. Be prepared to think about options in mediation. You will also have the chance to think and reflect on them in between sessions. Think carefully about what might work.
- Focus on the issues.
- Bring thoughts about what may work for the children to the mediation together with work schedules and schedules for children’s activities.
- Having a flexible, business like and positive attitude can help with mediation.
- Consider going for individual or family therapy to support your choice to mediate. A professional outsider could help enhance the mediation process.
- Remember that this is your opportunity to resolve your arrangements. The more you look at what might work and take ownership of your mediation the more likely it is you will reach a mutually agreeable outcome.