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Mediation is actively encouraged by the courts and is a voluntary, non-confrontational process, which offers a safe and confidential environment for couples to talk openly, clarify any issues in dispute and explore their options following separation.

Family law mediation can be a fast and effective way to reach an amicable solution. You meet with a mediator who works with you both to keep communication channels open, listening to both sides of the argument.

The mediator always acts impartially – they won’t give legal advice and can’t impose a decision without both parties’ agreement. However, because mediation meetings are confidential, they offer a safe environment in which to air and resolve issues.

Mediation can help you reach a dignified agreement while keeping acrimony and costs to a minimum.

We can offer mediation services or recommend suitable and qualified mediators. It normally takes between three and six mediation sessions to reach an agreement – some couples may need longer, while others settle sooner.

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Frequently asked questions

Mediation is a voluntary, non-confrontational process for resolving family disputes that arise from separation or divorce. Almost all family disputes, including those of married and unmarried couples, can be resolved in mediation including, but not limited to, disputes concerning divorce and separation, financial claims on divorce and issues concerning children. Mediation is conducted either in person or online and usually consists of 2-3 or more meetings, depending on the amount of issues, and their complexity. The mediation sessions offer a safe and confidential environment for couples to talk openly, clarify any issues in dispute and explore their options following separation. Any agreement that is reached can be communicated to their solicitors so that it can be made into a legally binding agreement.
Mediation can take place at any stage of the proceedings, although it is often helpful to mediate as early as possible. There are a number of advantages associated with mediation:
  • It caters for flexible outcomes that are tailored to a couple’s particular needs, which can be reviewed later down the line if your circumstances change, for example as your children get older.
  • Conversations in mediation cannot be referred to in any court process, encouraging discussions and negotiations that would not otherwise be possible.
  • The timings of mediation sessions are within a couple’s control, unlike the strict court timetable that would otherwise be imposed. Mediators give impartial guidance to help couples reach their own decisions about the future. You make the decisions, a mediator cannot impose any decision on you.
  • Mediation avoids the stress and acrimony of court proceedings.
  • Mediation can be quicker and considerably cheaper than any other legal process.
You don’t have to go to mediation before issuing a petition for divorce. If, however, you want to issue an application for the financial issues to be resolved, or an application for an order relating to your children, then it will usually be necessary for you to first attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before being able to make the application. The purpose of the MIAM is to see if mediation could be used to resolve your difficulties rather than going straight to the court. There are some limited exceptions to this requirement, which we will discuss with you if appropriate.
Unless one of the exemptions apply (e.g. there are allegations of domestic abuse within the relationship or where there is urgency), anyone who makes an application to the court to determine their financial settlement or the arrangements for their children is required to first attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). At a MIAM, the mediator will explore whether mediation is appropriate for resolving your dispute, explain how mediation works, the benefits of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, and the likely costs and timeframe of the process.
Mediation usually takes place with the couple and mediator in the same room. However, if this is not possible because, for example, communication has broken down or there is a power imbalance between the individuals, the mediator can move between different rooms to ensure that the couple have little or no contact. Following changes to working practices after the pandemic, mediations are taking place as much online as they are face to face, and your mediator can be flexible to your wishes.
Most separated couples meet the mediator together around the table. However, it is possible for the mediator to meet you separately. This is called shuttle mediation. Many mediators now offer remote mediation, via videoconferencing, avoiding the need to be in the same room.
If your ex-partner refuses to attend mediation, then the mediator may conclude that mediation isn’t appropriate in your case. This can make court proceedings more likely. We can work with you to resolve your dispute in other ways without going to court, and will discuss your options with you.
Mediation is not suitable for every couple, however, we find that it generally helps as a process to reduce the strain and tension caused by the breakdown of a relationship. Those that seek to mediate are grateful for the ability to make their own decisions and avoid the need for court proceedings. In order for mediation to be successful, both parties must enter into the process voluntarily and be prepared to resolve issues by agreement and outside of the court process. This will require a degree of commitment and willingness to compromise.

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If you have a question or need advice, please let us know how we can help.