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Family Mediation

For couples who are splitting up family mediation is a chance to sit down together with an independent and impartial third-party, the mediator, and make arrangements for their future quickly, cheaply and without having to go to court. They could have been married or living together. They may or may not have children. They may need to work out plans for any number of things, including children, finance and property. But there may be step-parents or grandparents needing to work out details of contact with children; or parents whose situation has changed after separation and who need to work out new arrangements.

The Family Mediation Service Is:

  • Confidential, impartial and independent

  • Employs trained professional mediators who can help both parties

  • Aims to help you agree a way forward and avoid disputes in court


Advantages of using family mediation:

  • The parties themselves decide the terms of agreement

  • It can allow couples to maintain communication even after splitting up – crucial when children are involved

  • It can help disputing family members to rebuild their relationship

  • It offers a chance to hear and be heard in a safe and focused environment and going to court is very expensive


You and Mediation


Mediation cannot work unless both partners are involved and it must be voluntary at all stages. The mediation process may take a number of sessions, depending on how many decisions need to be made and how complex they are. As a guide, mediation will take between two and four sessions. These will enable you to take legal advice and collect the information necessary to support your discussions.

What the mediator does… 

  • Meets with you and your ex (either together or separately depending on your circumstances and their style) for an initial meeting. This gives you, your ex and the mediator the chance to work out exactly what issues are at stake and whether you’ll both feel safe and comfortable discussing them face-to-face.

  • Helps you and your ex to go through those issues, think of your options, decide whether they’d work in practice and come to an agreement about what’s best.

  • The mediator is there to make sure that both of you get a chance to put your side of the story, particularly if one of you is better at arguing than the other.

  • Gets both of you to fill out forms giving information about your finances. Be aware: you’ll have to sign these to confirm that the information is correct.

  • Puts together a document at the end of the sessions setting out your agreement in writing.


What the mediator doesn’t do…

  • Make the decisions for you: you and your ex are in control.

  • Take sides: they are simply there to smooth the progress of your own discussions.


The number of sessions you need will depend on the number of issues to be decided and how complicated they are.

There will usually be 2–4 sessions, each lasting about 11/2 hours.

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