Divorce & Separation Solutions

Mediation for Essex, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Herts.

 Driving mediation forward In a rapidly changing world

Legal Aid is still available for mediation – if you are on a low income you may be entitled to free mediation. Financial help is available for the non legally aided client. We offer a fast prompt service for people needing to finalise property, finance and child contact difficulties.  You will work with the mediator ‘1 to1′ from your initial enquiry until your mediation has finished.


07583 281492  


Meet The Mediators

Lorraine Colombi
Professional Practice Consultant

After several years as a couple counsellor, Lorraine trained as a divorce and separation mediator with the ADR Group, achieving recognition with the UK College of Family Mediators and Legal Services Commission accreditation in 2007. She then worked for five years with South Essex Family Mediation in Southend and Basildon and more recently for National Family Mediation. Her experience as a mediator has involved Divorce and Separation mediation, Parent and Teenage mediation and delivering the Separated Parenting Information Programme on behalf of CAFCASS and the Courts. She has also worked alongside CAFCASS in local Courts on high conflict child contact disputes. Lorraine brings to her work the benefits of a very varied working career. After starting as a Ship Broker in London for P&O, she served as a Police Officer and then followed family tradition and ran an upholstery and soft furnishing company for many years. Following the birth of her son she trained as a complimentary therapist and worked with physiotherapists and osteopaths specialising in helping women with fertility problems. With her background in business, complimentary therapy, counselling and as a single parent, Lorraine has a unique mix of skills and experience. This gives her a particular ability to work sympathetically and successfully with the widest range of family situations.

Martin Dodd
Professional Practice Consultant


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With over 20 years experience as a family mediator, Martin has helped thousands of people reach agreements about their children and finances. He has exceptional knowledge of divorce and separation, their affect on peoples’ lives, and how best to deal with them. Martin has worked in mediation services in South Essex, East London, Central London and Hertfordshire. In addition to divorce and separation he has mediated in disputes about Special Educational Needs, disability discrimination, and between parents and their teenage children. In 2005 Martin was given the opportunity to test his mediation skills in a Channel 4 reality TV show, Families at War. He spent a week helping a family resolve a long-standing feud between brothers. It was a great success, and led to a live appearance on The Richard and Judy Show for Martin and the brothers, explaining how mediation had worked for them. As one of the few male mediators, Martin has learned that some men can have a critical view about how well the legal system serves them. He’s keen to put them right on this, but believes it is important to accept peoples’ views before you can expect them to understand the views of others. And this process of helping people respect each others’ point of view, Martin feels, is the key to successful mediation. Martin has an adult daughter and this has given him a good understanding of the importance of the fathers’ role and of the highs and lows of living with teenagers.

Stan Crowther

After a thirty year career in education, Stan trained as a divorce and separation mediator with National Family Mediation. He qualified and was recognised by the UK College of Family Mediators and the Legal Services Commission in 2003. For the following nine years he worked with South Essex Family Mediation Service helping many hundreds of people reach agreement about arrangements for children and finances. Stan has a particular ability in working with contact disputes and with family finances. With his background in teaching, he is particularly well placed to deal with cases where multiple issues involving children, money and high conflict are present. Stan has also mediated between parents and teenagers, and in disputes between parents and Local Education Authorities over the quality of educational provision for children with special needs. As a parent to 2 grown up children and with 4 grandchildren Stan brings an exceptional level of highly relevant experience and expertise to his mediation work.

Karrina Samuels

Karrina has been working in the voluntary sector for over 15 years delivering advice and support in Welfare Benefits and Debt.  With her range of skills that she acquired working with a diverse range of clients, she has recently qualified as Legal Aid Agency accredited Family Mediator in 2015. Karrina is also an in-court mediator in Luton, working very closely with CAFCASS and lay magistrates.Karrina also has experience in community mediation, helping to resolve neighbour disputes as well as running her own business working with unemployed young people, delivering training and event management.As a trained tutor she has helped members of her community understand and alleviate debt and money problems by writing and delivering her own ‘Lets talk about money’ course, which was very successful.Karrina has a wealth of experience in working with clients from unique and challenging backgrounds and has acquired a sympathetic and caring nature. 

Paul Schofield

After thirty years of working for children and family services both in the statutory and voluntary sectors Paul retrained as a family mediator with the Family Mediation Association in 2015. Paul is experienced at working at all levels within child and family welfare organisations, from working as a social worker on a one to one basis with parents and children to chairing case conferences. This work often meant negotiating with parents to find solutions that were in the best interests of the child and acceptable to the courts. Paul sees the child’s needs as being ‘paramount’ but that both parents have to be listened to and work together if those needs are to be met. He sees this principle being as true for Family Mediation. He has more recently worked as a volunteer for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) and is therefore familiar with the range of issues facing families and separating couple including the benefits system.Paul has two adult children and is soon to become a grandfather. He brings highly relevant experience, both on a practical and personal basis, to Family Mediation. 

Dai Morris

With over 40 years’ experience of working with children and adults of all ages and abilities, Dai has shown that he has an abundance of compassion for all.He has worked for a number of local authorities including Basildon and Southend Day Centre’s for people with profound learning disabilities, the older sector for Careline, and presently with teenage parents and their children for a Housing Association.Dai’s present role involves child protection and safeguarding work, where he regularly attends child protection conferences as support to the Resident and their children. Part of his role is to encourage the young parent to adhere to the child protection plan in order to show Social Care they can safeguard their children.In the 80’s Dai decided to train as a Samaritan, which he feels was very fulfilling. This led to an interest in Psychology and so trained as a Psychodynamic Couple Counsellor with South Essex Relate. During his training, Dai felt his relationship with his wife and son was enhanced.As a committed Vegetarian for over 30 years, Dai changed course and created the first completely Vegetarian and Vegan restaurant in Essex. He owned and ran the business for over six years and is extremely proud of this achievement. Continuing with his desire to improve the lives of others and improve his own skill base, Dai decided to train as a Family Mediator in 2011.
During his ongoing training as a ‘Mediator working towards Accreditation’, Dai co-worked with Lorraine Colombi and Martin Dodd.  He completed a Portfolio of work which was submitted to the Family Mediation Council for marking in June 2017, after a considerable amount of hard work, Dai received his Family Mediation Council Accreditation, (FMCA) in July 2017.


Can We Help You?

If you answer yes to 3 or more of these 5 questions then please contact us.
We may well be able to help you.

Personal check – will it work for me?


1. Is it difficult to speak to your ex-partner about things you need to sort out?

2. Do you feel you want to move on in your life but this situation stops you?

3. Do you feel you have relevent things to say but your ex-partner won’t listen to you?

4. Do you think your ex-partner has a different point of view you to your own?

5. Would you like the chance to talk safely and respectfully to your ex-partner and agree plans for your family and  finances?


  • Legal Aid is still available for mediation if you are on a low income

  • If you are eligible for legal aid, mediation is free of charge.   Your legal aid will also pay for some legal advice from a Solicitor.

  • Mediation is the least expensive and most effective way to make plans for children and finances after separation or divorce.

  • Mediation typically costs less then £500 each for up to three joint meetings over a six to eight week period.  The alternative to mediation can involve legal proceedings that may cost more than £2,000 each and take six months to a year or more to complete.

  • Mediation involves drawing up detailed plans for all aspects of your separation or divorce.  These plans may be made legally binding through a straightforward legal process that will cost just a few hundred pounds and only take a few weeks.

  • Our mediators have specialist knowledge and expertise in all aspects of divorce and separation.  They can give information on the legal, financial, emotional and practical aspects of divorce and separation.

  • Mediators can provide information but they will not advise you on what you should do.

  • Mediation helps you and your former partner make your own decisions about what is best for you and your family.

  • Mediation avoids the expense of legal proceedings as there is no need to exchange costly solicitors letters or attend Court.  All the arrangements are agreed at mediation so you only need a solicitor to finalise any legal details.

  • A skilled mediator helps you reduce conflict and improve co-operation.  The mediator encourages you to work together respectfully and agree the best solutions for all the family.



What Does It Cost?


All payments must be made in advance.

A 50% cancellation fee will apply if bookings are cancelled within 48 hours of meetings.  Full payment if cancelled within 24 hours of meetings.

You may be entitled to free mediation if you are on a low income.

Our charges are £100 per hour on a pro-rata basis.

We charge an additional 1/3 for Shuttle Mediation and Co Mediation.

Sole Mediation information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
£99 Per Person Per Meeting
(one person present, up to 40 minutes)
Includes Signing of relevant Court Forms
Joint Mediation information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
£99 Per Person Per Meeting
(both people present, up to 75 minutes)
Includes Signing of relevant Court Forms
First joint mediation meeting following joint MIAM
£80 Per Person Per Meeting
(up to 90 minutes)
Joint mediation meetings
£180 Per Person Per Meeting
(up to 90 minutes)
Production of child contact agreement
£85 Per Person Per Meeting
Production of child contact agreement
Production of documents for co-habitees
£130 Per Person
Production of documents for co-habitees
Production of documents for divorcing couples
£180 Per Person
Production of documents for divorcing couples
Production of Open Financial Statement and Schedule of Assets
Production of Open Financial Statement and Schedule of Assets.
Dealing with and responding to emails, correspondence and phone calls between meetings
£100 Per Hour Pro-Rate
Charged at £100 per hour on a pro rata basis apart from arranging meetings.

Copies of official letters confirming current entitlement to benefits must be provided at the first assessment (MIAM) meeting.  Letters are to be no older than six months at date of assessment.  It is in clients interests to produce relevant documentation for assessment as failure to do so may delay the start of mediation and ineligibility for legal aid.




For Solicitors

May I introduce to you a new service offering a better pathway through divorce, separation and child contact disputes.  We are seeking to work with solicitors firms who share our aim to make this easier, quicker, and less expensive than what is currently available.

I have been a family mediator for over twenty years and have developed a new way to deliver the benefits of mediation. My colleagues are Legal Services Commission Accredited mediators, and an Independent Financial Advisor.

We know the benefits of mediation are not always fully understood at first, but they are appreciated once an agreement is reached. We also know that what clients really want are successful outcomes and as little stress as possible. To help achieve this we have developed a new model of working, designed to help clients identify their options more co-operatively. We include free financial advice from our IFA, and of course legal representatives will offer advice as required.

The mediator manages all aspects of the case personally.  Our closely managed process enables clients to return to their respective solicitors after minimal delay with a detailed agreement, to seek advice and to finalise the legal requirements.

Our streamlined working method allows us to achieve results more quickly and cost effectively than any other mediation provider in the area. We are able to offer mediation assessment and information meetings (MIAMs) for £85 and joint mediation meetings for £150 per person per meeting.

I would be pleased to meet and discuss our new service and how it may be of value to you and your clients.  Please contact us to see if you would like any further information or to arrange a meeting.

Yours sincerely,


Senior Mediator

Download: Solicitors Referral Form



1. What is mediation?

Mediation is when two people make decisions with the help of a neutral and impartial third person. This third person is the mediator. The mediator does not give advice, but helps people make decisions by looking at the options and working out what is best for all concerned.

2. Will you try to get us back together?

No. Mediation is not reconciliation or couple counselling. It helps you make plans for your children and assets after separation or divorce.

3. Do we both have to attend together?

Yes.  Mediation can only work if both people are present at the same time. In some situations both people may be in different rooms for part or all of the meeting and the mediator goes between them.

4. What are the benefits of using mediation?

Mediation is the quickest and cheapest way of making arrangements for your children and assets after separation and divorce. It can also improve communication.

5. Will it really work for me?

Mediation will work if both people are willing to try to accept they each have different views and needs that are important to them.  Then mediation can be the best way to find out how these views and needs can be met.

6. How much does it cost?

Each joint 90 minute meeting is £180. If you use Divorce & Separation Solutions and reach an agreement the total cost should be less than £800 each for finance mediation.  For child contact mediation the fees are usually less.  If the arrangements were made just using solicitors the cost could be over £2,000 each. Mediation can cost a quarter of the price and take a quarter of the time of going to court.

7. Is it legally binding?

A financial agreement made in mediation will need to be put into a Consent Order by a solicitor and then made legally binding by the Court. Agreements about children may sometimes be put into a contact order, but the Court prefers parents to take responsibility for the agreement themselves.  From April 22nd 2014, with both parents concent, a Child Statement of Outcome agreed in mediation can be made into a legally binding consent order.

8. Will I still need a solicitor?

A solicitor can provide legal advice before during and after mediation. This is important to help you make sure the decisions you are making are in your best interests.

9. What if my ex-partner changes their mind about the agreement?

If people have worked together to reach an agreement in mediation they are unlikely to change their mind unless there is a good reason.  There may be changes in their life, or aspects of the agreement that need more discussion. When this happens a further mediation meeting may restore the agreement.

10. What if the situation changes for one of us?

Sometimes changes in people’s lives mean a return to mediation is needed.  This is the easiest way to make changes to any existing agreement or deal with any new issues.



National Family Mediation: organisation that represents voluntary sector mediation services – 


Family Mediators Association: organisation that represents mediators –


College of Mediators: Organisation that represents mediators and provides information about mediation –


Family Mediation Council: Organisation that represents mediation bodies:


Direct Gov:  Government website with information on divorce:


Family mediation helpline website:  Government website that provides information on mediation services:


Online newspaper covering all aspects of divorce: Huffington  post divorce:


Gingerbread: Organisation that provides advice and information to single parents:


Netmums : website covering all aspects of being a parent:


Independent information on divorce:


Independent information on financial aspects of divorce:

Independent information on Parental Planning:


Contact Us

Contact – [email protected]

Mobile: 07583 281492 8 am – 8 pm

Head Office: 01473 345438

Head Office: Community Action Suffolk, Brightspace, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, Suffolk. IP2 0HH.

Southend Office: 01702 522425

Southend Office: The Old Gas Works, 43 Progress Road, Leigh On Sea, Essex. SS9 5PR.

We are appointed mediators to Lawyer Supported Mediation

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Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy for Divorce and Separation Solutions Ltd

Last updated: May 2018

Divorce and Separation Solutions Ltd treats the privacy of its clients and website users very seriously and we take appropriate security measures to safeguard your privacy. This policy explains how we protect and manage any personal data* you share with us and that we hold about you, including how we collect, process, protect and share that data.

*Personal Data means any information that may be used to identify an individual, including but not limited to, a first and last name, a home or other physical address and an email address or contact information, whether at work or at home.

Our Privacy Promise

We promise:

  • To keep your data safe and private;
  • To only pass your data on to others with your express agreement;
  • Not to sell your data.

How we obtain your personal data

Information provided by you

You provide us with personal data either at your meetings with your mediator or via an online application or over the telephone. This includes name, address, date of birth, email address, bank and/or other payment details or welfare payment information (if you are a legally aided client). We use this information in order to assess payment for our services and to manage and administer your case. Other personal information we require is that of your ethnicity (for statistical purposes only), you or your family’s medical condition and any legal actions you are involved in whether Criminal or Civil (because they may affect your mediation outcome). In the event of an All Issues Mediation or Property and Finance Mediation, we may also ask you to produce evidence of income, expenditure, savings, assets and debts in order for us to produce, on your behalf, a full, frank and true disclosure of Assets and Liabilities which may be submitted by you to a lawyer or a Court for consideration.

We may also keep information contained in any correspondence you may have with us by post or by email. We do not record telephone conversations.

The provision of some or all of this personal data is essential for us to be able to administer and progress your mediation, including verifying your identity. This means that the legal basis of our holding your personal data is for the performance of a contract.

Information we get from other sources

We only obtain information from third parties if this is permitted by law. We may also use legal public sources to obtain information about you, for example, to verify your identity.

This information (including your name, address, email address, date of birth, etc.) as relevant to us, will only be obtained from reputable third-party companies that operate in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) e.g.solicitors. You will already have submitted your personal data to these companies and specifically given permission to allow them to pass this information to other companies that provide similar or comprehensive products and services to those we offer.

How we use your personal data

We use your personal data to manage and administer your mediation as a processor for your mediator. We also act as controller and processor in regard to the processing of your payment instructions. We undertake at all times to protect your personal data including any health and financial details, in a manner which is consistent with your mediator’s duty of professional confidence and the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPB) concerning data protection. We will also take reasonable security measures to protect your personal data in storage.

Do we use your personal data for marketing purposes?

Any information that you choose to give us will not be used for marketing purposes by us. We will hold your personal data only for the purposes of administering and managing your mediation.

Information about cookies

A cookie is a small text file stored on your browser eg. Internet Explorer. For details of how we use cookies please contact us by writing to the Data Protection Officer at Divorce and Separation Solutions, Community Action Suffolk, ’Brightspace’, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0HH or emaiI: [email protected]

Sharing information

We will only disclose your information with other third parties with your express consent with the exception of the following categories of third parties:

Categories of third parties

  • regulatory authorities and other fraud prevention agencies for the purposes of fraud prevention and to comply with any legal and regulatory issues and disclosures;
  • crime prevention agencies and/or social services in the event of any of parties involved in the mediation being under threat or at physical risk;
  • any contractors and advisors that provide a service to us or act as our agents on the understanding that they keep the information confidential;
  • anyone to whom we may transfer our rights and duties under any agreement we have with you;
  • any regulatory request (including recognised practitioner bodies) if we have a duty to do so or if the law allows us to do so.

Transfer of your personal data outside of the European Economic Area (EEA)

We do not currently transfer any personal data outside the EEA. lf in the future we transfer your personal data. in accordance with the terms of this Policy outside of the EEA we will make sure that the receiver agrees to provide the same or similar protection as we do and that they only use your personal data in accordance with our instructions. lf you require further information regarding such transfers, please write to the Data Protection Officer at Divorce and Separation Solutions, Community Action Suffolk, ’Brightspace’, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0HH or emaiI: [email protected]

How long do we keep this information about you?

We keep information in line with the retention policy of our company, Divorce and Separation Solutions Ltd., normally six years. This retention period is in line with the length of time we need to keep your personal information in order to manage and administer your mediation and handle any matters that arise from it. It will also take into account our need to meet any legal, statutory and regulatory obligations. These reasons can vary from one piece of information to the next. In all cases our need to retain your personal information will be reassessed on a regular basis and information which is no longer required will be erased or destroyed.


Data subject rights

Subject access requests

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) grants you (hereinafter referred to as the ’data subject’) the right to access particular personal data that we hold about you. This is referred to as a subject access request. We shall respond promptly and certainly within one month from the point of receiving the request and all necessary information from you. Our formal response shall include details of the personal data we hold about you including the following:

  • sources from which we acquired the information;
  • the purpose for processing the information and
  • persons or entities with whom we are sharing the information.

Right to rectification

You, the data subject, shall have the right to obtain from us, without undue delay, the rectification of inaccurate personal data we hold concerning you. Taking into account the purpose of the processing, you, the data subject, shall have the right to have incomplete personal data completed, including by means of providing a supplementary statement.

Right to erasure

You, the data subject, shall have the right to obtain from us the erasure of personal data concerning you without undue delay.

Right to restriction of processing

Subject to exemptions, you, the data subject, shall have the right to obtain from us restriction of processing where one of the following applies:

  1. the accuracy of the personal data is contested by you, the data subject, and is restricted until the accuracy of the data has been verified;
  2. the processing is unlawful and you, the data subject, oppose the erasure of the personal data and instead request the restriction in its use;
  3. we no longer need the personal data for the processing, but it is required by you, the data subject, for the establishment or defence of legal claims;
  4. you, the data subject, have objected to the processing of your personal data pending the verification of whether there are legitimate grounds for us to override these objections.

Notification obligation regarding rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing

We shall communicate any rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing as described above to each recipient to whom the personal data has been disclosed, unless this proves impossible or involves disproportionate effort. We shall provide you, the data subject, with information about those recipients if you request it.

Right to data portability

You, the data subject, shall have the right to receive your personal data, which you have provided to us, in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and have the right to transmit the data to another controller without hindrance from us.

Right to object

You, the data subject, shall have the right to object to our use of your personal information, or to ask us to delete, remove or stop using your personal information if there is no need for us to keep it. This is known as the ‘right to object’ and the ‘right to erasure’ or the ‘right to be forgotten’. There may be grounds relating to your particular situation at any time, why you wish to object to the processing of personal data concerning you, including any personal profiling. Unless this relates to processing that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or an exercise of official authority vested in us, we shall no longer process the personal data unless we can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override the interests, rights and freedoms of you, the data subject, or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

Right to not be subject to decisions based solely on automated processing

We do not carry out any automated processing.

Invoking your rights

If you would like to invoke any of the above data subject rights with us, please write to the Data Protection Officer at Divorce and Separation Solutions, Community Action Suffolk, ’Brightspace’, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0HH or email: [email protected]

Accuracy of information

In order to provide the highest level of client service possible, we need to keep accurate personal data about you. We take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of any personal data or sensitive information we obtain. We ensure that the source of any personal data or sensitive information is clear and we carefully consider any challenges to the accuracy of the information. We also consider when it is necessary to update the information, such as name and address changes and you can help us by informing us of these changes when they occur.

Important information

 Questions and Queries

If you have any questions or queries which are not answered by this Privacy Policy, or have any potential concerns about how we may use the personal data we hold please write to the Data Protection Officer at Divorce and Separation Solutions, Community Action Suffolk, ’Brightspace’, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0HH or  email: [email protected]

Policy changes

This Privacy Policy is regularly reviewed. This is to make sure that we continue to meet the highest standards and to protect your privacy. We reserve the right, at all times, to update, modify or amend this Policy. We suggest that you review this Privacy Policy from time to time to ensure you are aware of any changes we may have made, however, we will not significantly change how we use information, you have already given us without your prior agreement. The latest version of this policy can be found on our website at:

If you have a complaint

If you have a complaint regarding the use of your personal data or sensitive information then please contact us by writing to the Data Protection Officer at Divorce and Separation Solutions, Community Action Suffolk, ’Brightspace’, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0HH or email: [email protected]

If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction and you wish to make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), you can contact them on 01625 545745 or 0303 123 1113. You also have the right to judicial remedy against a legally binding decision of the ICO when you consider that your rights under the regulation have been infringed as a result of the processing of your personal data. You have the right to appoint a third party to lodge the complaint on your behalf and exercise your right to seek compensation.