What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a process to help you negotiate with another person, or with other people, when a family relationship breakdown is making it difficult to reach agreement on the practical issues you face.

It helps by:

  • Reducing conflict between you and enabling you to address the practical issues that you face at a difficult time
  • Improving communication between you, enabling you to hear each other’s views and to work towards reaching agreed solutions
  • Supporting you in implementing decisions about what is best for you and your family – you remain in control of the decisions

Agreements reached in mediation are not legally binding.  If you each decide you would like a legally binding agreement you can ask the court to make an order by consent.  You may wish to ask a solicitor to draft the order, based on the agreements you have reached.

What we offer

We help you during or after a separation or divorce, or at time of other family dispute.

  • We use our experience to help explore options that can meet your differing needs.
  • Where there are children we focus on their needs as a basis for your decisions about their future and on strategies for dealing with parenting issues in the years ahead; where appropriate we aim to bring the voice of the child into the room.
  • We can support you in drawing up a parenting plan together.
  • We provide information and a structure to assist you in negotiating a fair decision about the division of your property and finances.
  • We can produce for you a written record of agreements reached and where appropriate prepare documents to enable you to obtain a legally binding agreement.
  • Our rooms are all wheelchair accessible.

What happens next

  • We offer you an initial individual assessment meeting  called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).  This meeting is your opportunity to gain the information you need, and to decide whether mediation is the best  option for you.  Lasting for up to an hour this meeting provides the opportunity for:
    • a one-to-one meeting  with your  mediator to discuss the issues you would like help with and to assist you to look at all the options that are available;
    • an exchange of background information – from you about your current situation and from us about what is involved in mediation;
    • a two way assessment – for you, the client, and us, the mediator, to decide whether mediation may be suitable;
    • deciding whether you would like us to contact the other person to offer them an individual assessment meeting with us.
  • If after the assessment meeting you or the other person decide you do not want to go ahead with mediation we can sign your court form to confirm that you have met with us for the assessment meeting (MIAM) which is a requirement before going to court.
  • If you both decide to go ahead with mediation we will set up a joint meeting for you both, for one and a half hours, at which your mediator will remain with you throughout.
  • If appropriate we will provide you with a written summary of your mediation session;
  • You decide how many sessions you want; as a guide you may need 2 sessions to reach agreement about child arrangements, and between 3 and 5 sessions where a financial agreement is involved.
  • When you have reached agreement everything that you have agreed in mediation is written up for you.