What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation is a way of solving disagreements without involving the courts if your relationship has gone wrong.
How mediation can help you
In many cases, mediation is a better way of sorting out family disputes than going to court. It is almost always less expensive than instructing a family solicitor to act on your behalf and can often resolve issues much quicker.
The court will expect you to have attended a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ if you’re divorcing or ending a civil partnership and applying for a court order which involves:
- arrangements about children
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings.At a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, the mediator will try to work out if mediation can help you reach an agreement. They can also give you advice on any other services that may be able to help you. During the meeting, you’ll be able to find out more about mediation and ask any questions you may have.
You can attend the meeting alone or with your husband, wife or civil partner.
If you want to meet the mediator alone, the mediator will ask you for your husband, wife or civil partner’s contact details before the meeting. The mediator will contact them to find out if they are willing to try mediation. If they don’t want to try mediation, you won’t have to attend the meeting. If they agree to meeting the mediator, you will be able to meet the mediator alone.
After the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting
After the meeting, if you and the mediator feel that mediation can help you reach an agreement, you can start mediation sessions.
If you are not going to start mediation sessions, the mediator will fill in a form FM1 and give it to you or your solicitor. You should include this form with your application papers if you decide to go to court.
When you won’t be expected to have a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.
The court won’t expect you to have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting if:
- the mediator shows on form FM1 that mediation isn’t suitable because one of you didn’t want to attend a Mediation and Assessment Meeting
- a mediator doesn’t think the case is suitable for mediation and has said so within the past four months.
- either of you has made an allegation of domestic violence against the other within the past 12 months and police investigations or civil proceedings were started.
- your dispute is about money and either of you is bankrupt
- you don’t know where your husband, wife or civil partner is
- you want to apply for a court order but for specific reasons don’t intend to give your husband, wife or civil partner any notice
- the court application is urgent because someone’s life or physical safety is at risk or a child is at risk of significant harm
- the order is about a child who is already involved with social services because of concerns over their protection
- you’ve contacted three mediators within 15 miles of your home and are unable to get an appointment with any of them within 15 working days