What is family mediation?


Family mediation gives separating couples an opportunity to decide for themselves what to do about their children and finances, with help and guidance from trained and impartial mediators. In family mediation, clients are encouraged to cooperate with one another to negotiate and find their own ways to move forward with their lives. Research shows that family mediation can cost less than a quarter of the price and take only a quarter of the time of going to court.  More importantly, a solution that you have been part of finding is much more likely to work for your family.

Sadly, many people still go to court to argue about things they would be able to sort out themselves with a little help. This is expensive and emotionally draining, impacting on everyone in the family.

Parents know their children, which means they are the best people to make decisions about their children. However, it is often difficult to sit down together and have conversations with each other about the children without being side tracked by adult issues.  A mediator helps keep parents on track and can also speak with (older) children to make sure their voices are heard on the arrangements for the future as important family members.

Couples might want to sort out what to do about their finances themselves but are worried they will overlook something and need guidance on the approach. Mediation can help them do this, making sure that agreements reached cover everything necessary and are in line with what the law says, without the stress and cost of going to court.

What to expect

Research from the Family Mediation Council (FMC), who run the voucher scheme for Government funding for mediation about children, revealed 65 percent reached either a whole or partial agreement away from court.

National Audit Office figures on legally-aided mediation show that the average time for a mediated case to be completed is 110 days, compared to 435 days for court cases on similar issues. Mediation is also often cheaper than going to court – data from Legal Aid cases shows the average cost per client of mediation is £535 compared to £2,823 for cases going to court.

According to the Ministry of Justice “Almost seven out of every ten couples who opted for mediation reached an agreement.” (Ministry of Justice Press Release published 20 August 2014)