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
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
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. 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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