It was good to get clarity about where we both stood – it was good to have the others’ honest view.

Simon, Newham

Whether you’re trying to work through a problem with your partner or you’re single and want to explore your feelings about relationships, counselling can make a real difference to you.

You can come to Relationship Counselling regardless of whether you are married, single, living together or apart, straight or gay.

What is Relationship Counselling?

Counselling provides a supportive, constructive and confidential environment in which you can think about problems and talk over ways to address them.

Take a look at our video in which Relate Counsellor Graham explains what Relationship Counselling is all about.

What happens in Relationship Counselling?

In your first session you’ll be seen by a trained Relate counsellor at one of our venues across North East London and North Essex. You can come alone or with your partner.

Your counsellor will ask you questions about your relationship and what you hope to get from counselling. They might also ask you about any problems you’re currently going through, when they started and what you would like to change.

At the end of your session if you feel you’d like to continue with counselling, you can discuss with your counsellor what days, times and locations would be best for you. You can also talk about the cost of your counselling.

What kind of counselling you receive – and how long counselling continues – all depends on you and what you want to see change.

Skype counselling

Skype counselling allows you to talk to a trained Relate counsellor in real-time on a Skype call. To be able to use our Skype service you will need an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or PC with Skype installed. If you have a webcam you can choose to have this switched on or off during your session. 

We recommend that you plan when and where you’re going to have your session so that you can have privacy and not be disturbed. 

We can also arrange group Skype Counselling if  your partner or family group is in multiple locations.

Book an appointment

You can book an appointment for Relationship Counselling at locations across North East London and North Essex. To arrange an appointment please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are just a few of the most frequently asked questions. If you do not find your answer below, please feel free to get in touch.

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

Mediation allows you to discuss the issues that are important to you and to make your own decisions.

If you go to court the Judge will make the decisions for you and you must follow the ruling – even if you don’t agree or will struggle to keep to the arrangement.

Court takes away your independence – mediation lets you stay in control.

WHAT IS A MIAM?

From April 2014 this became compulsory in all family matters.

MIAMs stands for Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. This meeting will take around 45 minutes and is a confidential conversation between you and the Mediator.

During the meeting we will ask you to explain your situation and what kind of agreement you are hoping to achieve and the Mediator will explain how mediation can help you agree arrangements for children and financial settlements.

You can attend the initial meeting separately or together if you both wish. If both of you attend your MIAM and wish to proceed into mediation – the next appointment is when mediation begins.

CAN I GET LEGAL AID – IF NOT HOW MUCH DOES MEDIATION COST?

Relate Mediation hold a Legal Aid contract and will complete an application for Legal Aid at your MIAM appointment. If you are eligible all your costs are met by the Legal Aid Agency.

At present if one party is eligible for Legal Aid – BOTH parties MIAMs and their first mediation session will be paid for by the Legal Aid Agency

If you’re not eligible for legal aid the cost of a MIAM appointment is £85 per person.

It is difficult to give an exact cost – until we see you and understand the service you need we can only give you averages of what you costs could be. But here are some examples:

Child Issues = £385 – £550 per person
Property & Finance = £685 – £950 per person
All Issues = £685 – 950 per person

These are averages and the cost can rise or decrease once the case is tailored to you needs. These costs include your work with the mediator, all administration costs, letters, telephone calls and the production of your agreement.

The costs may seem high but if you compare them to Court where your costs can run into thousands and more importantly consider the emotionally stress of court –the benefits becomes clear.

We are a not for profit organisation. We are happy to discuss all your costs with you before you enter mediation allowing you to make your decision knowing no further costs will be incurred.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?

Less expensive – court costs can run into thousands

Quicker than court – it can take months before a court hearing

Confidential and approachable – court very structured

You have a voice and make the decisions – court makes decision for you

Legally fair agreement – court generally has a winner and a loser

One Mediator throughout the process –dealing with numerous court personnel

Can discuss issues important to you – court deals with legal issues

DO I NEED A SOLICITOR?

No – you can mediate without any legal representation. Mediation is not a legal process, but it is part of the court process. If you have a Solicitor they can suspend work whilst you are in mediation; we may advise both parties to seek independent advice from a Solicitor to help with a consent order or court proceedings.

To formally end a marriage or civil Partnership you would need to apply to court.

CAN YOU GIVE LEGAL ADVICE?

No – our Mediators can advise on the legal process and we have a Legal Consultant who supports our team but for legal advice we would suggest a Solicitor or Citizen Advice Bureau.

IS THE AGREEMENT LEGALLY BINDING?

No – but once your agreement has been produced it can be given to your Solicitor to be made into a Consent Order which is the legally binding agreement.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO THE MEDIATORS HOLD?

All our Mediators are qualified to undertake All Issues work and are affiliated to the College of Mediators and Family Mediation Council.

They come from a wide variety of backgrounds – Child Counsellors, Family Counsellors, Solicitors, Social Workers and Teachers etc. All bring valuable experience and skills to their work together with the family centred ethics of our organisation.

Family Mediation Council registered mediators are trained professionals who work within the standards and code of practice set by the Council.

Only FMCA Mediators (Family Mediation Council Accredited) can conduct MIAMS and are recognised by the Ministry of Justice.

HOW LONG DOES MEDIATION TAKE?

This depends on the type of case. On average a Property & Finance or All Issues case completes in 3 sessions. We will go through a full financial disclosure with you both and help you agree a fair and sustainable financial agreement –

What happens to the property?
How do you split savings and other assets?
How do you deal with debts?
What happens to pensions?

Child only cases on average complete in 2 sessions.

We ask you as parents to put together the agenda. This can include any issue you wish to discuss – the Mediator is there to support communication and to ensure the agreement is in the best interest of the child or children.

Apart from:

How much time children spend with each parent.
Where the children live
How the children are looked after financially (child maintenance payments)
We can support you in agreeing what happens with regards to extended family, holidays, schooling, birthdays, religious holidays, family events etc.

We also do some work on how you will manage the agreement as the child grows and their needs change. We want to help you find a parental relationship that stops you having to go back to court every time you want to change the arrangements.

These are averages – we will tailor mediation to meet your individual circumstance and the number of sessions you need will reflect this.

CAN CHILDREN BE INVOLVED IN MEDIATION?

Our research shows us that Children want to be heard. Children who have been involved in the arrangements even in a small way feel better than those who are left out of the process.

All our Mediators are fully trained to work with children. As the majority of our mediators are also Child Counsellors we feel confident in working with the children to give them a voice

WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

At present we have four mediation offices in Romford, South Woodford, Enfield and Hackney. But later in the year 2 new offices will be opening extending our range in London North East.

DO I HAVE TO WAIT WITH THE OTHER PARTY?

No – we can arrange for you to wait separately and to leave separately too. When you arrive and we greet you we will always check with you on any special arrangements you require.

DO I HAVE TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE OTHER PARTY?

No – we can offer shuttle mediation where party are separate but it is more productive if you can mediation together. These details would have been discussed and agreed during your MIAM appointment – although we work with you and are flexible – so sometimes the type of mediation changes as the process evolves.

HOW DO I MAKE A PAYMENT?

When we book you MIAM we will ask you to register a debit or credit card. We then deduct your session cost from the registered card on the day of your mediation session. If you wish to pay by cash – this can be arranged by speaking with the Administrators.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OTHER PARTY DOESN’T WANT TO MEDIATE?

We would not be able to proceed as mediation involves both parties engaging in the process. Recently we have noticed – if both parties haven’t consider mediation the courts are referring them back before the court case goes ahead.

WHAT IF WE CAN’T AGREE?

The majority of our cases conclude in successful agreements. However if you cannot reach agreement we can provide you with the relevant court forms to allow you to make an application.