Family mediation: a free choice and often a good one

Posted 6th June 2024

Discover why family mediation might be your best option with Wilson Browne solicitors. Learn about the benefits of choosing mediation over court battles, understand the process, and find out how it can save you time, money, and emotional stress.

For the time being, the Government has ruled out compulsory mediation in family cases. As a result those wanting to apply to the Courts to sort out finances within their divorce proceedings, or seeking to set out arrangements for their children in an Order, will still have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is subject to certain exemptions, primarily around domestic abuse.

Is this a good thing?
The Court system is in a dire state with backlogs and delays resulting in a final trial hearing taking a substantial time to reach, with the accompanying significant costs and emotional distress.

Alternatives are necessary – and in so many cases beneficial – as a means of achieving a resolution. Mediation has the potential to be a positive means of “reaching” a settlement/agreement, rather than having one imposed, and it can be achieved within a much more restricted timescale, and at a substantially reduced cost.

However, mediation – whether in person or remotely – needs to be a safe space in which each person’s views and proposals can be heard and respected. A decision to choose mediation over other resolution options provides a positive environment to work towards an agreed settlement or arrangement.

How does Mediation work?
The first step is to arrange a consultation with a qualified family mediator for a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting. This will explore and explain the principles and procedures involved in mediation and will involve an assessment to confirm whether mediation is a suitable way to move forward.

Once mediation commences there will be a sharing of all relevant information about the children affected and/or the financial circumstances involved.
The exact details of everything discussed remain confidential.

Mediation is based on the following four principles:
The mediation process is always voluntary, and anyone can bring the process to an end at any time.
It is confidential unless there are extenuating circumstances such as (i) disclosure of a criminal offence or money laundering or (ii) if a child or adult is at risk of serious harm.

The mediator must remain impartial, and seek to ensure the settlement is in the best interests of both parties. The final decision and settlement are down to the participants themselves, and no one else.

Once an agreement has been reached and agreed upon by both parties, a Memorandum of Understanding can be drawn up recording the details and how those are to be implemented. If this cannot be agreed upon, the next stage is to take legal advice and consider the alternatives including preparing for court proceedings.

Contact Wilson Browne Solicitors if you want to learn more about mediation / MIAM’s as a means of resolving issues involving: Financial issues arising from a relationship breakdown (either marriage or cohabitation); or Arrangements for your children following a relationship breakdown.

For simplified advice and clear guidance on mediation, contact our team at 0800 088 6004. Visit or scan the code to complete our online contact form.