I am not sure what I should do - would be grateful for any suggestions.
Story so far - attended mediation last year and completed about 5 sessions. As I was on a low income it cost me £55 per session (about 1-2 hours) x2b £90. Before the last session x2b decided not to continue. He wanted to talk to me without the mediator as he said she was useless (he decided didn't like her before we even went in). Didn't turn up - twice.
Now his solicitor has told him he should continue but with another mediator costing £80-£90 per hour.
I don't know if I can face starting it all over again with another mediator but i know it will cost me even more to use the solicitor and the courts. I feel we still won't be able to agree even if I pay for more mediation and will still end up in court.
I wonder if the mediation service you use has a legal aid franchise. If your income is less than £30,360 per year (2008-09) you could be eligible for legal aid. They would need to carry out an assessment, which is fixed by the LSC, but if you have less than £698 disposable income after allowing a couple of authorised deductions mediation should be free. Also, if you do qualify for free mediation you should be able to get some free legal advice. If you can reach agreement, your solicitor's costs in submitting it to the court for approval are also likely to be covered by legal aid. The mediation service should be able to provide with a list of solicitors who have a legal aid franchise for family work.
You can ask the previous mediator to pass all paperwork etc onto new mediator. They have to do it if they have an LSC franchise, but should do it any case, and certainly ought to if they are part of the same mediation firm. This should reduce time and therefore costs, and make it less like starting again.
There are two main types of mediation firms: for-profit and not-for-profit. They should provide the same service, it's just that the latter ought to do it at a much more reasonable cost: they are there to help. There is a list of not-for-profit services on the National Family Mediation website. And just in case there is any doubt, we are listed there. (It's not advertising for us, as I have no idea what area of the country you are in.)
You need to have confidence in the mediator you are using, and should feel happy to change. You wouldn't hesitate to change solicitor if you were unhappy with them, and the same applies to mediators. The only word of caution is if you think your stbx is using this to gain/keep some control. The mediator should be aware of any power im/balance between you and should conduct the mediation in a way that addresses this. You can also raise whatever you like in the mediation session, and I would suggest it is better to do it there than outside if there is likely to be disagreement. Mediation is much cheaper than using solicitors, and even if you don't agree on all the points, all the documents etc that you produce are required anyway, and solicitors charge if they have to gather all this info.
I would suggest you give it another go. You have a better chance to reach agreement in mediation than if your case goes to court where the decisions are taken out of your hands.