Family mediation is a voluntary process, where separating or divorced couples can have a discussion – not an argument – about their future arrangements, guided by an experienced mediator. No-one forces you to come and you can leave the process at any time if it’s not working for you.
Mediation is impartial. The mediator does not take sides, making sure that all negotiations are balanced and that both parties are able to freely express their views.
The power of decision-making rests with you. The mediator will not tell you what to do but is there to guide you through possible options and to help you both make the right arrangements about your future.
Mediation is confidential, which means you are free to explore all options safe in the knowledge that if mediation fails the courts are not entitled to hear about the discussions that took place. This ensures that the negotiations are ‘without prejudice’ and won’t influence any future legal proceedings.
There are two exceptions to confidentiality: one involves financial disclosure, where the courts are able to call on financial information provided during mediation and use it to form a judgment. The other is where a mediator is concerned that a child is at risk of serious harm and therefore has a duty to report it to the appropriate services.
Where Children are Involved
- It is desirable that the voice of children should be heard during mediation
- Both parents should ensure that children do not hear inappropriate language being exchanged between parents
- Both parents, with regards to the lives of their children, should have a completely full role in co-parenting through a co-operative parenting pathway
The law now requires everyone who wishes to take a child, family property or finance matter to court to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to decide whether the matter may be suitable for mediation.
A mediator will take you individually through the MIAM and, where agreed, will then contact the other party to invite them to attend a joint mediation session. If the MIAM is unsuccessful in bringing about mediation, the mediator can help send the matter to court by providing a mediator signed page for you to place in your C100 or Form A.