Family Mediation Lawyers

A class act

Legal 500, 2018/19

If you have a family law dispute, mediation can be a quicker, less stressful and more constructive way of resolving your issues. Our family mediation solicitors and mediators can help you throughout the mediation process, offering a range of services depending on the level of support you need.

Call our specialist team on 0345 604 4911 or contact us online for a free 30-minute consultation about your mediation options.

What Is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is the most popular way to settle a family law dispute out of court. It involves an independent professional – the mediator – helping you and your ex-partner or family member negotiate an agreement. The mediator is completely impartial – they don’t take sides or pass a judgement on your case.

You’ll need to attend a series of meetings for you to discuss your issues and try to find a solution. These meetings can be online or in person, and you don’t have to see or speak to your ex-partner or family member if you don’t want to.

If you reach a solution that you both agree to, the mediator will explain how to make that agreement legally binding.

Numerous studies have shown mediation can produce better long term results for separating families, as it reduces animosity and improves communication.

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When Can Mediation Be Used?

Mediation can be used in pretty much any family law dispute. In most cases you have to consider mediation before you’re allowed to apply to have your case heard in the Family Court.

The common situations family mediation can be used are:

  • The arrangements for finances and/or children following divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation
  • Reviewing existing financial or child arrangements following a change in circumstances
  • Agreeing the time children spend with their grandparents or other family members
  • Negotiating the terms of prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

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When Are The Advantages Of Family Mediation?

Mediation has many advantages over going to court:

  • It’s faster and cheaper
  • It’s less stressful
  • It can improve communication and your relationship with your ex-partner going forward. This can be particularly helpful if there are children involved.
  • In mediation you can’t be forced to agree to something that you don’t want (unlike with a court order)
  • It’s confidential – what you discuss won’t undermine your position if you can’t agree and your case ends up going to court. You agree to keep the discussions confidential (except for the purpose of taking legal or other advice) and details of the discussions and the outcome will never be made public.
  • Mediation is flexible. You both set the agenda of what you want to discuss. Sessions can be as regular as you like, and you can take breaks to test solutions (such as trialling an arrangement for the care of your children). You can also take a break to wait for important information, for example waiting for a business to be valued or a pensions report.

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What’s The Family Mediation Process?

All mediation sessions can be done online or in person. You can choose whether to attend them on your own, or with your lawyer. Mediation can be arranged so that you don’t have to see or speak to your ex-partner or family member if you don’t want to.

Family mediation follows a simple process:

  1. Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
    This is an initial meeting with the mediator to discuss your family law issue privately and consider the different options available to you to resolve it. The mediator will also take into account any safeguarding issues (for instance if your ex-partner has been controlling, abusive or violent in the past). You will then decide whether family mediation is suitable for you. If you don’t think it’s suitable you can ask the mediator to give you a signed form, which will allow you to apply to have your case heard by the Family Court.
  2. First mediation session
    If mediation is right for you and your ex-partner or family member also agrees to attend, the mediator will arrange the first session. In this session the mediator will help you both set the agenda on the issues that need resolving. They’ll also help you consider what information is needed to move the discussions forward at the next session.
  3. Mediation sessions
    You would then go to a number of mediation sessions to try to negotiate with your ex-partner or family member. These usually last one to two hours. The number of sessions you’ll need depends on how complex your issue is, and how quickly you’re able to reach agreement. In some cases, for example in hybrid mediation, it’s possible to resolve a family law dispute in a single sitting, as the mediation session can last for either a half or full day.
  4. Outcome
    After attending mediation it will become clear whether you’re able to come to an agreement. If you do manage to reach an agreement the mediator will then explain the steps that need to be taken to make it legally binding. Where it’s not possible to resolve all the issues, you can then take your dispute to the Family Court (although you can continue mediation at the same time or resume it at any point). To help with this (and reduce your legal costs) the mediator can summarise where your discussions got to and the areas of dispute which remain.

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What Family Mediation Services Do We Offer?

We offer a free 30 minute consultation with one of our family mediation lawyers to discuss your options, and the level of support you might need. Call us on 0345 604 4911 to find out more.

The family mediation services we offer are:

  • Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
    We can support you at your MIAM meeting and help you understand whether mediation, or another option, is right for you.
  • Mediation support service
    This is where our lawyers help prepare and support you through the mediation process, but don’t actually attend any of the mediation meetings. This is the most cost effective way of lawyer-supported family mediation, and the option that most of our clients choose.
  • Lawyer supported mediation
    Our lawyers help you through the mediation process and attend all mediation meetings with you. This can be a quicker option, as we can give you legal advice in real time.
  • Family mediators
    We have accredited family mediators who also have years of experience practicing as family lawyers. Our mediators are registered with the Family Mediation Council and are members of Resolution and so follow the highest professional standards. They use their expertise to help you agree a way forward with your ex-partner or family member.
  • Hybrid mediator
    We have one of only a handful of trained hybrid mediators in the UK. Hybrid mediators are specially trained to be more flexible and innovative, as they can bring in other professionals and experts to help with complex and difficult situations. This could lawyers, accountants, valuers, financial advisors or psychiatrists. The mediator can also spend more time working individually with you to explore options in greater detail. In some cases, where you all have access to legal advice and all required information, hybrid mediation can enable you to resolve your dispute in just a single day.

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Why Choose Us?

Our family mediation solicitors put your needs at the heart of what we do. We focus on what’s important, while keeping stress and costs to a minimum.

We’ll support you through the whole mediation process and provide a tailored service based on what you want and need. Our lawyers will be there with you at every stage of mediation, helping you navigate the legal, financial and emotional aspects of your family law issue.

We have one of the largest family law teams in the UK and are known for helping clients with significant personal or business wealth. Several of our lawyers are listed in Spear’s 500 – an independent guide to advisers for high net worth individuals. We also have experience in complex cases that involve wealth or families spread across multiple countries.

As a long-established team, we have a large network of specialist connections that we can call on to help with your case. These include:

  • Financial advisers
  • Accountants
  • Pensions experts
  • Business valuers
  • Barristers
  • Arbitrators.

All of our team have significant expertise in cases involving family mediation. In addition we have qualified mediators, including one of the only qualified hybrid mediators in the UK.

However complicated or acrimonious your family law issue is, we have the team to help you find a way forward. We offer a free consultation about your mediation options where we’ll discuss how we can best support you.

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Contact us

For a free 30-minute consultation about family mediation, call us on 0345 604 4911 or contact us online.

Call today for more information

0345 604 4911

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Claire Filer

Our Teams

Family Law Podcast

"Our mediation support service is there to provide something different and something extra. It's there to provide support and help in the background." Nicola Walker, Partner

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I am very pleased with the help I received from Irwin Mitchell.

Everything was explained to me quite clearly before they took on my case, and because they were confident that I had a case, I felt confident that they would…

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The service I received from Irwin Mitchell was impeccable. I was carried along from start to finish. Claire King was amazingly awesome. All the Customer Service Representatives was absolutely polite and professional…


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From the first call to the end of the process they were highly professional and supportive.

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Kids in the Middle is a charity which aims to help children whose parents are going through, or have gone through a divorce.

As a lead partner of the charity, we’re making sure that the views of children are heard when decisions are being made which concern their welfare.

 

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