About Us

We are a team of Family Mediation Council accredited mediators

We offer both online and face to face MIAMs and mediation to our clients throughout the UK and because our mediators are all accredited, they are able to sign court forms, such as the C100 and the FM1. Our family mediation team supports families through change, generally as a result of separation, divorce, or family restructuring. As trained and impartial family mediators, we aim to help you and your partner communicate more effectively and to support you in making your own arrangements for the future, rather than the courts deciding what is best for you and your children.

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Family Mediation Services

Online MIAM
An online MIAM is the first meeting that you will have with a mediator. The four letter stands for Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting. It is important to note that your former partner does not attend this meeting with you. This meeting can be done using Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp, which is easy to do, even if you are not a techy person! In this first meeting, you will have the opportunity to find out from a qualified family mediator how mediation works and the potential benefits. The mediator will also make an assessment as to whether mediation is appropriate for your personal situation. If mediation is not an option, the mediator is able to sign the appropriate court forms. Online MIAM appointment are only available for private paying clients, as the Legal Aid authority does not fund online sessions.
Family Mediation
There are three main areas that family mediations can help with: Child arrangements Who will the children live with? Do the children require maintenance? If so, how much? What are the children going through? Communication How should we minimise conflict? How can we do what is best for our children post separation? How can we deal with the involvement of my new partner? Financial & Property Arrangements What will happen to the family home? How can we divide our assets? How can I manage my cash flow? How can I afford life after separation?
A MIAM is the first meeting with a mediator accredited by the Family Mediation Council. The only difference to the online MIAM is that you meet the mediator face to face. The mediation will be carried out in a neutral environment, such as the mediator’s office. All offices used by Direct Mediation Services are disability friendly. If you require any specific support for your visit, please make the mediator aware before your appointment.

The benefits of family mediation

For many, family mediation is preferable to the court process.
It is in the children's best interests
It is well known that when parents co-operate, there is a beneficial effect on children, as it helps them maintain important family relationships.
It is usually quicker than going to court
The family mediation route takes on average 110 days, compared with 435 days for non-mediated cases. Therefore the average time saving is 325 days (10.5 months).
An agreement can be made in a safe & confidential environment
Mediation is always confidential. Meetings are private and at the mediator's office or a neutral venue.
It is less stressful & results in less conflict
The courts are often known for their adversarial approach and people often try to ‘win’ against the other, without looking at the overall picture.
It puts the decision in your hands, not the courts
A family mediator will assist you to find a solution that works for you and your family and importantly, how you can make this agreement legally binding.
It is usually cheaper than going to court
According to The National Audit Report in 2012, the average cost per client for mediation was £675. The average post per client for cases going to court was £2,823. This in an average cost saving of £2,148.

Stage 1

Initial meeting with a mediation (MIAM)
The first meeting with a mediator, sometimes known as a MIAM, provides you with the opportunity to find out how mediation can work for you and your family. This meeting usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. In brief, you will discuss:

  • What mediation is, and how it works.
  • Whether mediation or another form of family dispute resolution is right for you and your family. Other forms include solicitor negotiation, collaborative law, arbitration and court.
  • The benefits of mediation and other forms of family dispute resolution.
  • How many sessions you may need.
  • The likely costs of using mediation.
  • Assess whether you are eligible for publicly funded mediation via Legal Aid.

Stage 2

Agreement to mediate
One of the first things that will happen at the first mediation session is the mediator will explain how mediation works and the rules of the mediation room. This is covered in a document called an Agreement to Mediate. Both you and your former partner will be asked to sign this before starting the session. If you would like to see a copy before your joint mediation session, please tell your mediator in your MIAM.

Stage 3

Different types of mediation
The family mediator will talk with you about which are best for your situation.

1. Sole mediation

This is the most common form of mediation where you and your former partner meet with a qualified mediator in one room to jointly discuss potential solutions. On average, there tends to be about three mediation sessions, but it may vary depending on the number of issues that need to be discussed and the complexity of the relevant issues. Sole mediation sessions are generally shorter than shuttle mediation, between 60 to 90 minutes.

2. Co-mediation

This form of mediation involves two or more mediators. It can be used when there are more than two parties involved in a dispute, or where there is more than one issue, requiring different expertise. Co-mediation can also be helpful if there is a high level of conflict between you and the other party.

3. Shuttle mediation

A third type of mediation is called shuttle mediation, and is used when the you and your ex-partner do not want to be in the same room as each other. Instead, a mediator or mediators will 'shuttle' between the two rooms in order to negate the requirement of face-to-face communication. Whilst this method does not improve relations, like the other forms of mediation often do, this does provide you with an effective way to ensure safe negotiations. A downside to this method, however, is that it often takes substantially longer than sole and co-mediation.

4. Child Consultations

With this approach, a child can talk with a qualified child consultant mediator. This is on the basis that the child agrees to be involved and that you and your ex-partner agree for this to happen. We assure you that your children will not be asked to make choices or decisions and that parental authority is respected.

Stage 4

The final outcome
Once the family mediation process has finished, your family mediator will explain to you how you can seek legal advice regarding any proposals that have been agreed and how they can be turned it into a legally binding agreement and/or court order. Whilst proposals regarding children do not necessarily have to be converted into a court order, proposals relating to financial issues often should be. Sometimes an agreement is not found and the mediator will discuss what other options are available, such as arbitration or court proceedings. Although the mediator will never tell you to do something, he or she may suggest consulting with another relevant professional, for instance a pensions specialist, before making any decisions.


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£Average cost per person for mediation
£Average cost per person to go to court
£Average saving per person


Meet our friendly, supportive & multi-lingual team
Stuart Hanson FMCA
Stuart Hanson FMCA

Managing Partner & Family Mediator

Stuart is a Family Mediator accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) in all issues. He is also a member of the College of Mediators. Stuart also delivers training for mediators nationally on the subject of the LGBT family in the mediation room. He is the firms LGBT champion. Stuart works as a mediator both in the UK and abroad. In his free time, Stuart enjoys singing, drawing and supporting Blackburn Rovers FC.

Lesley Dudleston FMCA
Lesley Dudleston FMCA

Family Mediator

Lesley has experience in mediations regarding financial and children arrangements. She is accredited by the FMC for all issues. Lesley has an interest in supporting people with autism. She is Direct Mediation Services' disability champion. Lesley has organised a number of training events in the north of England for family mediators. When she is not mediating, she is a keen traveler and enjoys watching the rugby.

Jan Coulton FMCA
Jan Coulton FMCA

Family Mediator & Professional Practice Consultant (PPC)

Jan has been a mediator for nearly 30 years. She is accredited by the FMC and has held many senior positions, and is currently the Director and Vice-Chair of the College of Mediators. She was previously the Director of the Family Mediators Association and a Member of the Ministry of Justice Family Mediation Steering Group. She is also a qualified solicitor. Jan mediates internationally. She is a bronze medal holder for International Winter Swimming and recently swan the English Channel.

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    Head Office
    15 Park Place, Leeds LS1 2SJ