Mediation for family law disputes
Before reading on, you might find our introductory article, what is mediation? interesting. It will give you a better understanding of the process.
Finding out if Mediation is right for you
Since April 2011 it has been a legal requirement (with some exceptions) that anybody wanting to go to court regarding issues faced by separating couples, or specific issues such as arrangements for any children, should first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting (a MIAM).
This meeting, with an appropriately qualified mediator is to allow you to find out about mediation and other non-court options.
Not everyone is ready for mediation so the mediator needs to find out whether it is a suitable path for your situation.
Publicly funded mediators will also assess your eligibility for financial assistance and explain charges if you are not eligible.
If you decide not to mediate, the meeting is necessary if you want to go to court, as the court will expect a certificate from the mediator before you start proceedings.
The mediator will speak to you briefly about the process to ensure you understand how it works. They will then contact your partner and have the same conversation with them. Sometimes mediators prefer to do this face to face rather than on the telephone.
Legally binding agreements
Agreements reached through family mediation may not be legally binding or enforceable but where both parties agree, legally binding agreements can be drawn up.
You are strongly advised to take legal advice before entering into any legally binding agreement.
Once you have proposals both parties find acceptable the mediator will prepare a summary which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your solicitors.
After you have both received legal advice and if you are both still happy with the proposals, the lawyers will convert the summary into a legally binding document and oversee any necessary implementation.
This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.