Mediation: resolving family disputes, lessening family acrimony

Mediation: resolving family disputes, lessening family acrimony


Mediation is a process to help couples who have decided to separate or divorce to talk things through.

Mediators are trained to help you reach an agreement about how to make the best arrangements for the future. This may be about the way the children are cared for, or how finances will be organised, or both.

Talking face to face when a relationship breaks down can be daunting but the mediator will help you to start to communicate and focus on what really matters.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation can ease the pain of family breakdown because it:

  • Helps to reduces tension and hostility
  • Helps you make informed decisions that are right for your circumstances
  • Keeps communication channels open
  • Can reduce the costs of your separation or divorce
  • Can benefit children throughout the process by enabling parents to work together and keep communicating

How does mediation work?

Mediators provide impartial guidance to help you understand what matters to you. They will help you to reach practical solutions that feel fair to both of you, and your family. Our mediators have been trained by resolution; they are also qualified practising solicitors with a thorough legal knowledge to complement their mediation skills. They can therefore guide you “in the shadow of the law”.

Mediation may not be suitable for all separating couples, and the mediator will invite both parties to an initial session to consider this. This session is called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

Once a MIAM has been completed full sessions can begin. Each mediation session will probably last between one and two hours. Most couples attend a number of sessions together with the mediator, five or six sessions is not uncommon.

You can consult your own solicitor at any time to take independent advice on what is best for you. The mediator cannot provide you with legal advice. When you are both content with the decision you have reached, your proposal is then approved by your solicitor who completes the legal formalities.

As the mediator is instructed to provide both parties with independent and impartial advice, they cannot also act as your solicitor. You will therefore need to instruct a solicitor separately to assist you. Alternatively, you can engage in mediation without having instructed a solicitor, depending on the issues in discussion the mediator may suggest you seek legal advice before any final agreements are reached.

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