Family Mediation is a positive way to resolve issues arising from relationship breakdown. The kind of issues you might need to discuss includes:
- looking after your children
- what will happen to your home
- sharing your money and other assets
- financial support
You and your ex-partner meet with a trained mediator to try and come to decisions agreed by both of you.
The mediator will not take sides and will lead the discussion to help you look forward and find a positive solution.
Mediation can help any couple or former couple, whether married or unmarried, male and female or same sex, with or without children.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FAMILY MEDIATION?
- Family mediation helps you both agree what is fair, practical and workable, now and for the future.
- It encourages joint decision-making that you control, as opposed to having a decision imposed by the Court.
- Family mediation aims to improve communication, reduce distress and bitterness.
- It supports children who may be affected by their parents' separation or divorce by helping parents to make better agreements that benefit the children.
- Matters can be sorted out more quickly and effectively. Mediated agreements can cost much less than only using solicitors and/or the Court!
- Family mediation works - about 8 out of 10 cases result in at least some agreement.
Mediation starts with a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) of about 45 minutes. This is usually for you by yourself, but could be with your ex-partner.
At this you can discuss the benefits, any concerns, the process and establish a timetable and costs.
If you both agree to proceed with mediation, it usually takes between 1 and 3 sessions of 1 and a half hours each. The number of sessions depends on how complex the issues to be sorted out are and whether you and your ex-partner are able to work together and agree. Mediation concerning child contact only generally only takes 1 or 2 sessions.
Following agreement, a summary of the matters agreed are written up and sent to you both. This document is not legally binding, but you can take it to your solicitor to have it certified in court. (Many people find it helpful to have the continuing support of their solicitor during the mediation process).
All discussions in mediation are treated in confidence, and no information is passed to anyone outside the service without your permission. This information is also legally privileged.
Legal Aid is still available for mediation, subject to a means test - you will know whether you are eligible by the end of the MIAM.
If you cannot have Legal Aid, you will have to pay a fee per session - see our page on fees and costs.