My wife and I have recently split up and I have received notice to go to a mediation information meeting. I am not sure if my wife will be at the mediation information and assessment meeting and what will happen at family mediation. I do not know my rights. Can I refuse to go and, if so, what happens then?

Areas of Expertise: 

Public Answer: 

We are sorry to hear about your separation
 
A mediation information and assessment meeting is a meeting between you and a family mediator to give you information about how family mediation works and to see if you would be suitable to go to family mediation. Normally the information and assessment meeting is an individual meeting with you alone, but you could double check that your wife will not be at the meeting if you are concerned about it.
 
If you decide to go ahead with mediation, your wife would attend the mediation sessions that would be led by an independent and impartial family mediator. The mediator’s job is to help you reach an agreement. For example, in mediation you could decide whether you are going to get divorced and, if so, who should start the divorce proceedings or you could agree the split of your assets or parenting arrangements.  
 
Mediators are not able to give legal advice and therefore most do recommend that you get legal advice on your family law rights. Taking expert advice means you are
more likely to be comfortable in attending mediation sessions, as you will know where you stand legally.
 
If you do not go to the mediation meeting, your wife could get a family solicitor to write to you or she could start court proceedings. The first step is for you to take some legal advice on your rights and options.
 
To discuss your situation and your options we would need to see you. We can give you   expert divorce, financial and children law advice and advise you on the best way forward. Please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. 
 
[This question has been successfully answered by our lawyers in a private e-mail]