Direct Mediation Services

Family mediation

Turning family dispute into resolution

Our family mediation service offers the expertise of our family mediators, who bring extensive experience to assist you with matters concerning mediation for children, pets, property, and finances. Mediation empowers you to maintain a significant level of autonomy in decision-making. Unlike the court process, family mediation is known for its speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

family MIAM mediation

Separation & divorce

No matter how challenging the situation is, we are here to assist you in in bringing about a conversation that supports you finding a resolution.

MIAM mediation for children

Mediation for children

Our professional family mediators will listen to both participants, taking into account your needs and those of your children in an empathetic and pragmatic way.

family mediation for divorce

Pets in family mediation

Our family mediation service understands that pets are equally a part of the family and our mediators will help you find a way forward.

national family mediation uk

Financial agreement

Through our national family mediation team in the UK we can help you find the best way forward regarding your family home, pensions, and investments.

Book an online MIAM

We offer an online MIAM appointment within 48 hours of booking, or even sooner. This includes options for scheduling during lunch breaks or before your children need to be picked up from school.

family mediation

Frequently asked questions for family mediation

Family mediation is a process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, assists family members in resolving conflicts and reaching agreements on various issues, such as divorce, child custody, visitation schedules, division of assets, and other family-related matters. The mediator facilitates communications and negotiations between the participants involved, helping them explore their interests, needs, and concerns in a structured and supportive environment.

The primary goal of family mediation is to promote cooperation and understanding among family members, while minimising the need for litigation and court intervention. It provides a more informal and less adversarial alternative to traditional legal proceedings, allowing families to maintain greater control over the outcome of their disputes.

Family mediation sessions are confidential, voluntary, and typically conducted in a private setting. The mediator does not make decisions for the participants, but instead assists them in reaching mutually acceptable solutions that consider the best interests of everyone involved, particularly children if they are part of the family.

Here are some of the benefits of using family mediation to resolve disputes:

  • Mediators do not take sides, make judgements, or give advice. The role if very different from instructing a solicitor or having a judge make decisions. 
  • Mediation keeps decision-making in the hands of the participants. The mediator is there to support families to make decisions about their future.
  • Family mediation supports families through challenging times and restructuring.
  • It is in your children’s best interests. No one disputes the fact that when people co-operate, there is a positive impact on the children. Many parents and grandparents, who have attended mediation, say that mediation helps them maintain important family relationships.
  • Family mediation does not have adversarial approach like court, where people often try to ‘win’ against each other, without looking at the overall picture.
  • The mediation process is much less stressful for families and it reinforces and strengthens effective communications between the people taking part.
  • Attending family mediation is generally quicker than going to court. The National Audit Report stated that the mediation route takes an average of 110 days, compared with 435 days for non-mediated cases. This is a substantive saving of 325 days (10.5 months).
  • Family mediation is usually cheaper than going to court. The National Audit Report of 2012 states that the average cost per client for mediation was £675. The average cost per client for cases going to court was £2,823, which meant there was an average saving of £2,148. Eight years later, it is anticipated that the savings will be even greater.

It is vital that the mediator you are engaging is fully qualified and registered. All accredited family mediators in England and Wales are listed on the website of the Family Mediation Council (FMC).

There are two types of family mediator: trainee and accredited. This is very clearly stated on the profile of every mediator on the register. All accredited mediators have completed substantial training to a high level and have also compiled a professional portfolio, which takes approximately one to two years to finish.

Every year, family mediators have to complete a specified number of hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to satisfy the Family Mediation Council. The mediator also has to undertake a certain number of hours of family mediation each year.

All accredited family mediators have to have professional indemnity insurance and in addition to this, every mediator has to be a member of a professional organisation, such as The College of Mediators, The Family Mediation Association or Resolution.

By going to mediation, it can help you and your ex-partner get a divorce quicker. This is mainly because you are communicating, whether it be in shuttle or face-to-face. Your family mediator can help you agree on the grounds of the divorce, child arrangements and the finances following your separation. 

The mediator will always recommend that you both have independent legal advice from a qualified person. A family mediator is impartial, so he can give you legal information, but not legal advice (even if your mediator is a qualified solicitor) – this is the job of a family solicitor.

Family mediation typically follows a structured process designed to facilitate productive communication and negotiation between the participants involved. While the specifics may vary depending on the mediator and the circumstances of the case, the general steps involved in family mediation are as follows:

  1. Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM): The mediator conducts an initial assessment to determine if mediation is appropriate for the situation and whether each participant is willing to participate voluntarily. Each participant attend a separate and confidential MIAM. These meetings provide an opportunity for the mediator to explain the mediation process, clarify expectations, gather background information, and assess each party’s concerns and priorities.
  2. Once both participants agree to participate in mediation, joint sessions are scheduled. During these sessions, all participants meet together with the mediator to discuss the issues at hand, express their perspectives, and work towards finding mutually acceptable solutions. The mediator facilitates communication, ensures that discussions remain focused and respectful, and helps participants explore potential options for resolution.
  3. The mediator assists the participants in identifying and prioritising the issues that need to be addressed. They also encourage participants to express their underlying interests, needs, and concerns rather than focusing solely on their positions. This process helps uncover common ground and areas where compromises can be made.
  4. Through facilitated negotiation, the participants work together to evaluate the proposed solutions and negotiate the terms of an agreement. The mediator helps manage any conflicts or disagreements that arise, encourages constructive dialogue, and assists in bridging gaps between the participantss.
  5. If the participants reach a consensus on all issues, the family mediator assists in drafting an agreement that outlines the terms of their settled proposals. The agreement may address issues such as child custody/arrangements, visitation schedules, division of assets, financial support, and any other relevant matters. Participants may choose to have their legal advisers review the agreement before finalising it.
  6. Once the agreement is drafted and reviewed, the participants sign it, making it a legally binding document. If required, the agreement may need to be submitted to the court for approval and incorporation into a court order, particularly if the mediation is part of a legal proceeding such as divorce.

Overall, family mediation relies on collaboration, communication, and problem-solving to help families resolve conflicts and reach agreements that meet their unique needs and circumstances.

The duration of family mediation can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the complexity of the issues involved, the willingness of the participants to cooperate, the number of sessions required, and the pace at which progress is made. While some cases may be resolved in just a few sessions, others may require several sessions spread out over weeks or months.

On average, a typical family mediation process may span anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Initial sessions are often used to clarify issues, establish trust, and begin exploring potential solutions. As the mediation progresses, participants may need additional time to gather information, consider options, and negotiate terms.

The family mediator plays a crucial role in helping the participants stay focused, manage conflicts, and move towards resolution efficiently.

Ultimately, the goal of family mediation is to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that addresses the participants’ needs and concerns. While some cases may be resolved relatively quickly, others may require more time and effort to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

To apply for family mediation, you must contact a mediation service to inquire about availability, fees, and procedures. Next, you can schedule an initial meeting to discuss your concerns and assess whether mediation is appropriate.

We offer an online MIAM appointment within 48 hours of booking, or even sooner. This includes options for scheduling during lunch breaks or before your children need to be picked up from school.

Many separated parents find it a challenge to organise the time that each child spends with their parent. The most common problem is not being able to talk with each other effectively. After a relationship has come to an end, talking to your ex-partner can be very difficult and emotions can run high. This can make having an everyday conversation about child arrangements very difficult, or basically impossible. In mediation, your family mediator will discuss with you both about communication strategies and possible rules.

Mediators may talk about clarifying new partners’ roles and how and when they should be introduced to the family.

While mediation itself lacks legal binding, agreements achieved through family mediation can become legally binding if both participants opt to formalise them. In the context of divorce mediation, agreements covering property division, child custody/arrangements, visitation schedules, and support payments are typically documented in a “mediated settlement agreement” or “memorandum of understanding.”

Whilst mediation can be very successful in resolving family disputes and facilitating positive agreements, there are unfortunately cases where mediation is unable to resolve a situation. Mediation can end at any stage in the process – sometimes cases do not pass the initial MIAM – but it is always best to attempt mediation and the courts actively encourage this. Sometimes clients can have a few mediation sessions and then realise that there is no progression, and choose to end mediation. 

If you do not reach an agreement at mediation, the mediator will sign the necessary court form and the case can then be heard by a judge or a magistrate.

It is always to be remembered, that during the mediation process, the decision making is in your hands. In court you give it over and lose that control.  

The cost of family mediation varies based on factors such as the mediator’s experience, the complexity of issues, session duration, and geographic location. Mediators often charge hourly rates ranging from £100 to £300 or more, reflecting expertise and local market rates. Additional fees may apply for initial consultations, document writing, or mediation sessions. Mediators with advanced qualifications or specialised training may command higher fees than those with less experience.

Legal Aid for family mediation offers financial assistance to eligible individuals, enabling them to access mediation services for family disputes without incurring significant costs. Through this funding, individuals facing financial constraints can receive support to navigate and resolve their family issues effectively.

Legal Aid for family mediation is available to individuals who meet certain financial criteria set by the Legal Aid Agency. Eligibility takes into account factors such as specific benefits, income, assets, household expenses, and the merits of the case. 

If you qualify for Legal Aid, you will receive your mediation at no cost. If you receive Legal Aid and your ex-partner does not, there is also partial funding available for them. You can talk to one of our team to see if you qualify.

In the UK, mediation is not compulsory for divorcing or separating couples, but it is strongly encouraged by the courts as a way to resolve disputes amicably and avoid costly and adversarial litigation. Since April 2014, before applying to the court for certain family law matters, such as child arrangements or financial disputes, couples are required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). During the MIAM, an accredited mediator explains the benefits of mediation and assesses whether mediation is suitable for the couple’s situation.

There are exceptions where attending mediation for a divorce may not be required or may not be appropriate:

  • If there is evidence of domestic abuse or violence, mediation may not be considered safe or appropriate, and alternative dispute resolution methods may be explored.
  • If there are urgent issues that require immediate court intervention, such as safeguarding concerns or emergency financial matters, mediation may not be required before applying to the court.
  • If one party refuses to attend mediation or if mediation is unsuccessful in resolving the dispute, the couple may proceed to court for a resolution.

Book an online MIAM

Monday - Friday 09:00 - 17:00

We offer an online MIAM appointment within 48 hours of booking, or even sooner. This includes options for scheduling during lunch breaks or before your children need to be picked up from school.

Book a fast track MIAM

Same day and/or out of office hours

We recognize the urgency sometimes associated with obtaining the MIAM certificate promptly for court application purposes. Hence, we provide an express service to cater to such needs in only one hour.