What is Family Mediation and How Does it Work?

Relationship breakdowns can be traumatic but moving forward does not have to be. As part of Family Mediation Week, we are keen to raise awareness of the different options available to help reduce conflict and resolve issues for you and your family.

What is Family Mediation?

Mediation is the use of an impartial person to guide disputing couples and help them to make informed decisions and reach an agreement within a confidential framework.

Mediation provides an alternative way to settle differences without costly courtroom battles. It allows you to control the decisions that affect your family, your children, your finances and your future relationship. The process helps to resolve the consequences of relationship breakdown by concentrating on the future and helping to sort out the practical and legal arrangements.

Mediation is not about getting couples back together; but if there is a possibility of saving a relationship or if you would like to concentrate on the emotional aspects, then the mediator may suggest counselling or family therapy for one or both of you.

Why Does Family Mediation work?

Most people want to settle their differences as efficiently, fairly and as cost effectively as possible, enabling them to move forward with their lives. Mediation helps to achieve those goals.

Our mediators will help you to examine your needs and priorities, enabling you to develop and discuss realistic and practical settlement options. Encouraging communication through direct discussion helps to identify solutions quickly and cost effectively.

Decisions are made by you both, not the mediators, lawyers or the court. You reach agreement – it is not imposed on you.

Who is Family Mediation for?

Family mediation is flexible and wide ranging. We commonly deal with the whole spectrum of issues arising from the breakdown of family relationships.

We help couples who:

  • are ending their relationship, whether living together, married or in a civil partnership
  • have separated or divorced and who want to make arrangements for children
  • have separated or divorced and what to make arrangements regarding finances
  • want to review arrangements arising from a change in circumstance  – whether in respect of children or finances
  • have family members who would like to resolve difficulties, for example grandparents spending time with their grandchildren

What issues can Family Mediation cover?

Every situation is different and we adapt the meetings to your needs. We regularly assist with issues surrounding:

How does Family Mediation work?

There is an initial Mediation Assessment Information Meeting (MIAM) that you can attend either on your own or with your former partner. We will explain the process and will consider whether or not mediation is appropriate for you. You can then decide if you would like to proceed.

Further mediation sessions would usually be joint appointments, though separate appointments can be arranged in some circumstances.

The service can be offered in person or remotely.

What happens if agreement is not reached?

Occasionally, due to the voluntary nature of mediation, an agreement cannot be reached. You may then wish to instruct a solicitor or apply to the Court.

By this stage, much of the information a solicitor or the Court needs would have been provided and the issues narrowed. This will reduce the overall cost and time needed to reach a final settlement.

Do I need a solicitor?

Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice. You can choose to consult a solicitor at any time during the mediation process; to take advice about proposals or to formalise an agreement making it legally binding.

Our Mediators

Interested in learning more about our mediators here at Geldards? Find out more about Claire Dean and Fiona Apthorpe and find their contact details below.

How can I find out more?

For a free introductory chat and to determine whether mediation can assist you, please contact Fiona, Claire or our Mediation Assistant, Ranjit on +44(0)1332 378 311 or email at ranjit.kaur@geldards.com.

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