About Family Mediation


Family mediation is a firmly established strand of family law, mediators work alongside solicitors and the family courts to assist people, who have separated and / or want to divorce, to reach their own settlements. Often people will have had an initial consultation with their solicitor prior to coming to mediation, if they are divorcing a Conditional Order ( formerly decree nisi) may have been applied for or obtained.

After a successful mediation a solicitor can be consulted again to carry out any necessary legal work. This could be a court order to confirm the agreed children’s arrangements or to change the name on a property title / mortgage. If divorcing, they can draft the orders and apply for the Final Order (formerly decree absolute).

Stages in the Process

Mediation Process 1
Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting
Mediation Process 2
Joint Mediation Meetings
Mediation Process 3
Summary & Final Documents

Family mediation follows several distinct stages following initial discussions and referral:

1. Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)

This will be your first face to face meeting with the mediator and takes place without the other person being present. The main purpose of the meeting is to explain to you how mediation works and decide whether mediation is suitable in your circumstances. We will also look at what has happened and what you would like to achieve, as well as your issues and concerns. The cost of mediation is considered and we will assess your eligibility for legal aid if you require this. A MIAM generally takes about 45 minutes.

If both you and the mediator decide mediation is suitable, then we will look at how best the other person can be brought into the process and invited to their individual MIAM. Depending on the circumstances this could be a phone call / email from us or a formal written invitation.

Family mediation

Family mediation

If it is decided that mediation is not suitable, then we can issue you with the Mediation Certificate(s), Forms C100 for children’s arrangements or Form A for financial arrangements. (They contain a section for a mediator to fill out, that is now required by the Court should you decide to issue proceedings)

If after both the MIAM’s, mediation is found to be suitable, it will be possible to move on to joint mediation meetings.

2. Joint Mediation Meetings

This is really the start of mediation proper and consists of a number of meetings with both people and the mediator together exploring the issues and negotiating a settlement (these are the only people that will be in the mediation meeting). The time can be used in different ways and there will be opportunities to speak one to one with the mediator if you need to. A session will typically last for up to 60 minutes. The number of meetings required will vary with the type and complexity of the case.

The meeting(s) will be managed by the mediator who will seek to maintain a safe, civil and worklike atmosphere. You can expect to spend time identifying and exploring the issues that you have not been able to agree on so far, as well as discussing options and proposals for doing things differently in the future.

If you are divorcing a formal financial disclosure process needs to be followed, which leads to the production of a financial summary named the Open Statement of Financial Information (similar to Form E that solicitors use), financial negotiations are then based on the content of this. The financial information may also be needed by your solicitor to provide you with legal advice.

If agreement cannot be reached, or if one of the parties decides to withdraw from the process or the mediator decides to halt the process, then mediation will have come to an unsuccessful end. We will talk to you about your future options if this happens. The Mediation Certificate(s) can then be issued to you or your solicitor if necessary.

3. Summary and Final Documents

Assuming you have reached a mutually successful conclusion, the mediator with then draft the documents you need to record your proposals. These will be necessary to obtain legal advice and/or for a solicitor to implement a legal settlement.

If you are divorcing the Open Statement of Financial Information will also be finalised at this stage and your agreements / plan for the future recorded in a formal Memorandum of Understanding. This will be used by a solicitor as the basis for drafting the financial / child arrangements order(s).

For other matters, the successful outcome is typically recorded in a Mediation Summary. Copies of the documents are issued to each party at the conclusion of the mediation process.

This is a summarised description of what actually happens, please contact us for a free telephone consultation if you feel unsure about how mediation works or if you have any questions. We will also discuss the process in more detail at the MIAM.

The majority (70-80%) of people who attend joint family mediation meetings are successful in reaching an agreed way forward.

Find out more about family mediation