Home > Communication > Mediation: What is it and is it For Me?

Mediation: What is it and is it For Me?

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 28 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Mediation Court Family Children Divorce

Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, Contact Orders, residence agreements and Divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval.

Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach an agreement that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides.

When Should Mediation be Used?

Mediation should, where possible, be used before the matter reaches court. The court will have preferred clients to go through the mediation before the matter reaches them. The primary reason is that mediation is an opportunity to come to a mutually agreed decision, one that you can take ownership of and want to ensure works. You are responsible for the outcome not the mediator.

A decision from the court can be perceived as ‘forced’ on you and is not one that the parties will necessarily want to make work, or at least, have less incentive to make work. This leads to problems not only for the courts but also for each of the parties and especially children, if they are involved. Everything that the court will do in hearings that involve children for contact, residence, Parental Responsibility will be child-focused – being in the 'best interests of the child’ is central to the court ethos and the court proceedings.

Am I Suitable for Mediation?

Anybody who wants to get a problem sorted is suitable for mediation. You have to come to mediation with an open mind and be willing to discuss things maturely and without wanting to provoke confrontation. This can be very difficult to remember when you are facing people across a table and are attempting to sort the tiny details of arrangements and divisions of time. The biggest benefit from mediation is that there is nothing to lose by attending. Everything is confidential. If there is an agreement you get charge of the arrangements, and, if you do not end up agreeing, the contents of the mediation cannot be brought up in the present court proceedings or any after the event.

Court is stressful for all concerned for you and your children, but you can help to avoid stressful situations by taking charge of the circumstances and try to reach a compromise. However, don’t think that by having to go to court you have failed or that you are not going to get a fair hearing. Court is just another way of formalising arrangements, you will be given the opportunity to be heard.

Things to Remember

The outcome may not be totally what you want, and you must come to the mediation ready to discuss all the options. Try to be flexible about arrangements. This is not to say that you should just take what is offered and be happy, but be prepared to justify your reasoning and to compromise. Once you have reached the agreement, try to make it work. It seems obvious to say, but give it a chance. Chopping and changing arrangements is not good for children and it is not good for you. You have to try to see the benefits of what you have agreed before you condemn it. Your children have to have routine at what will be a very confusing and difficult time.

Mediation is confidential and worthwhile; there is nothing to lose and, potentially, a lot to gain. Best of all is an agreement that you and your ex partner can work with to make sure your children are best provided for at a distressing and confusing time.

Check out our tips for using mediation effectively.

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Hi My Ex had me arrested on false accusation when we separated and the bail conditions are that I cant see the children. My youngest is 16 who she is now trying to claim child maintenance for. They are asking for unreasonable amount that will leave me in debt. What can I do? I cant even negotiate with Ex and child maintenance don't want to know. They have sent me warning letters that I have missed payments when sent them a letter 'Mandatory Consideration'. They say they refuse mandatory consideration and at the same time threaten me with a letter before I can respond saying they have moved to collect and pay. The bail is set until the end of March 2017. My criminal solicitor says they cant do anything as crime takes president to civil matter. So until my case bail has been lifted child maintenance cant intervene. Is this true and what should I do
Zak - 28-Jan-17 @ 3:37 PM
Me and my husband have had broken contact with my husbands sons since him and his mum broke up when he was a year old about 8months ago we all meet up and put agreement into place where we have him everyweek well after fine in a couple bruises in full places and I burn on his leg we confronted his mum and know she's stopping up from seeing him and making things up saying my husband tried it on with her what I no is not true as they only ever meet in public places and I was their 99% off the time. Is they anything we can do as am current pregnant and we also have full custody off my husbands little girl aswell.
Frank - 17-Sep-16 @ 1:03 PM
Hi my sons dad is always in and out of his life he recently come back and started seeing him I asked him if he could help with paying for his son and he disagreed so I said I would like him to go to Mediation to get a agreement and to start seeing his son so none of us can go back on things is this possible ? He said he had to save for the letter to be sent out to me is the true ? Thanks
NikkiLeiigh - 1-Sep-16 @ 10:24 AM
laila - Your Question:
Thank you so much for your reply. It really reliefs me. Also a small question I'm a Dutch citizen n so is my son but he is born here. I was here for studies n work and then marriage. I have resigned and have no family here. I want to go back to Holland to my family and live there and work there as I have support there. My ex husband is on EEU family residents permit he is an Indian. Our divorce is in the court and we will receive the decree nisi in 2 weeks and then the absolute divorce l. After that he has to leave the country or get his on visa. I wanted to ask can I leave the country and go back to holland with my son without his permission but I'll inform him. As we are dutch and its not been 5 years of residence in the UK, can I go back to my country ?

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this due to the complexity of the situation and because it focuses on immigration law. The JustAsk site heremay be able to help you further. Also the Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to give you some free legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 3-Mar-16 @ 2:14 PM
Thank you so much for your reply. It really reliefs me. Also a small question I'm a Dutch citizen n so is my son but he is born here. I was here for studies n work and then marriage. I have resigned and have no family here. I want to go back to Holland to my family and live there and work there as i have support there. My ex husband is on EEU family residents permit he is an Indian. Our divorce is in the court and we will receive the decree nisi in 2 weeks and then the absolute divorce l. After that he has to leave the country or get his on visa. I wanted to ask can I leave the country and go back to holland with my son without his permission but I'll inform him. As we are dutch and its not been 5 years of residence in the UK, can I go back to my country ?
laila - 2-Mar-16 @ 9:08 PM
lail - Your Question:
Me and my husband have been separated since 1 and a half year. He was meeting his son 3 times a week and I was going along. My son is 9 months old and lately my ex has been very abusive on d messages. I have blocked him and asked him to get legal advice on meeting his son as I'm not comfortable in seeing him. I don't mind him meeting my son but I don't want to see him for anything its getting too much. We had an domestic abuse history. I wanted to know if me blocking him or not talking to him wil cause any issues against me.

Our Response:
No, if you feel you are being harassed, please see Ask Police link here on what constitutes harassment. If your ex decides to take the matter to court, as specified in the article, Mediation is the first step to consider. However, if you can't agree, then Cafcass will get involved and a report will be written and presented to the courts. Please see article: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? here which means you will be able to have your say. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 2-Mar-16 @ 2:50 PM
Me and my husband have been separated since 1 and a half year. He was meeting his son 3 times a week and i was going along. My son is 9 months old and lately my ex has been very abusive on d messages. I have blocked him and asked him to get legal advice on meeting his son as I'm not comfortable in seeing him. I don't mind him meeting my son but i don't want to see him for anything its getting too much. We had an domestic abuse history. I wanted to know if me blocking him or not talking to him wil cause any issues against me.
lail - 2-Mar-16 @ 9:35 AM
katyp - Your Question:
Hi. Me and my partner haven't been aloud to see his daughter since we had our own baby. Can someone please tell is how to find and contact a mediator please? As we don't have an address for her mum and not sure where to go next. She has said she wants to see us but her mum said we have to take to court to do so? Thank you katy

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot recommend specific mediators, but you can find one via the link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-16 @ 2:48 PM
Hi. Me and my partner haven't been aloud to see his daughter since we had our own baby. Can someone please tell is how to find and contact a mediator please? As we don't have an address for her mum and not sure where to go next. She has said she wants to see us but her mum said we have to take to court to do so?. Thank you katy
katyp - 6-Feb-16 @ 12:41 PM
Titch - Your Question:
Hi, my daughter's dad has her every other weekend from Friday night at 5 until Sunday at 5. The court order was put in place in June 2014 and since then he has completely stopped communicating with me. He refuses to give me his address and has stopped my daughter calling me at night to say goodnight or tell me about her day. He won't give me updates to let me know she is safe. He is refusing to talk to me regarding my daughter's nursery, health or hobbies and the relationship has broken down that badly that I am considering mediation just to get him to talk to me about our daughter. Can I go through mediation after a court order has been put in place? Thank you.

Our Response:
Yes, you can. However, if your ex refuses to attend Mediation (as it is voluntary), and if you still feel strongly about it, then your only other option would be to take it to court under a Specific Issue Order, see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 1-Feb-16 @ 12:45 PM
Hi, my daughter's dad has her every other weekend from Friday night at 5 until Sunday at 5. The court order was put in place in June 2014 and since then he has completely stopped communicating with me. He refuses to give me his address and has stopped my daughter calling me at night to say goodnight or tell me about her day. He won't give me updates to let me know she is safe. He is refusing to talk to me regarding my daughter's nursery, health or hobbies and the relationship has broken down that badly that I am considering mediation just to get him to talk to me about our daughter. Can I go through mediation after a court order has been put in place? Thank you.
Titch - 31-Jan-16 @ 6:33 PM
Irish - Your Question:
Hi. My daughter lives with me but my ex has a court order to see her every Wednesday night. I recently had to change jobs which means I have to get a child minder on Thursday mornings for the school run. My ex is refusing to take our daughter to the child minder saying I have to collect her at 8am. The trouble is I am in work at 7 and my ex refuses to let her leave before 8. My ex also works and her patenter has said she will take our dayghter to school but my ex said no that I have to do it. The court order states that I have to make our daughter available from 3:30 on Wednesday until 8am on Thursday but doesn't state that I have to pick her up. Please help. Thanks

Our Response:
Your ex is obviously being very inflexible and despite a court order there should be alllowances made for some degree of flexibility when extenuating circumstances come into play - please see link: Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here. If your ex continues to refuse to negotiate around the court order, then you should consider Mediation, otherwise you would have to take it back to court and apply for a variation. If you do manage to agree between you, then make sure you do this in writing, so that you have back-up should you ever need to refer to it in the future.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jan-16 @ 10:23 AM
Hi . My daughter lives with me but my ex has a court order to see her every Wednesday night. I recently had to change jobs which means I have to get a child minder on Thursday mornings for the school run. My ex is refusing to take our daughter to the child minder saying I have to collect her at 8am . The trouble is I am in work at 7 and my ex refuses to let her leave before 8 . My ex also works and her patenter has said she will take our dayghter to school but my ex said no that I have to do it. The court order states that I have to make our daughter available from 3:30 on Wednesday until 8am on Thursday but doesn't state that I have to pick her up . Please help . Thanks
Irish - 27-Jan-16 @ 9:59 AM
Hi me and my husband split up over a year ago, our two children live with me. They stop at there dads every Monday night and has them on night over the weekend. There has been a lot of fall out within the family and me and my so called family do not talk anymore. My ex still goes to my parents etc (which he never did before, he hardly spoke to them before) I have told him I don't mind him taking the kids to my parents as long as he stops with them as I don't trust my mother (she likes to drink a lot and tells my daughter alsorts which upsets her), my mother has asked me if my daughter can sleep at hers before and I have said no. Anyway my ex let my daughter sleep at my mothers on a night he was meant to have the kids even tho I have told him I'm not comfortable or happy about it. I only found out because of Facebook, when I asked my daughter about it she lied to me so they have must have told her to keep quite about it. I'm hoping we are going to get a divorce in the new year. I have been more than fair with my ex concerning the kids, half of the time when he is meant to have them his parents have them. What action can I take please? Hope this makes sense
Richo - 29-Dec-15 @ 1:57 PM
tutton - Your Question:
Hello I am a 21 year old male who has split from a 3 year relationship and my ex will not let me take my son every other weekend to my mums or let me take hin out all she will let me see of him is at hers with her there I have never done anything to harm her or the kids and all I wont is to be able to take my little boy every other weekend

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If you can't agree between you, then you could suggest mediation, as suggested in the article. If your ex refuses mediation, then you would have to apply to court for a contact order. Please see article: Contact Orders: the Process, link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 17-Dec-15 @ 12:55 PM
Hello i am a 21 year old male who has split from a 3 year relationship and my ex will not let me take my son every other weekend to my mums or let me take hin out all she will let me see of him is at hers with her there i have never done anything to harm her or the kids and all i wont is to be able to take my little boy every other weekend
tutton - 16-Dec-15 @ 5:06 PM
Mediation I understand it is a requirement for couples in the UK to go to mediation. Is it a neccesary requirement? I ask because my ex does not live in the UK. I am a bit wary of being in the same room as my ex has a history of DV( its the reason I fled back to the UK).I'm in a similar situation to the asfana lacheux case. I'm not sure that mediation is going to be productive given that my case will be complex and covers issues of multi juristion, DV, child abuse ( andthe abduction of my child by my wife using asharia court.) kind regards
R - 23-Oct-15 @ 1:23 AM
My ex defacto (who lives with his parents) has been having our 9 year old son most weekends.However, he is now badly into drugs and leaves my son for hours at a time with the grandparents.He is clearly on drugs.I want to stop taking my son to his dads.It's a bad situation.What are my rights?What can I do?My ex has no job, has never paid me any maintenance and I've had enough.
Janna - 11-Oct-15 @ 5:03 AM
@Paul - you would have to get on to the mediation service directly and ask for an explanation. I'm afraid we are not party to this information and we couldn't speculate.
SeparatedDads - 29-May-15 @ 11:09 AM
Hello, I invited my ex-partner to mediation to settle disputes over our children. I have now been told that I have not to bother with a MIAM because the mediator assess mediation not suitable because my ex partner would not be able to partake in voluntary negotiation. What does this mean? Does this mean she refuses the mediation or am I reading through the lines that mediation is not considered because she accussed me of domestic violence or something else? The mediator cancelled my appointment without even seeing me. I still asked to be seen because I understand to have taken part in a MIAM before taking things to court. Do i Need the miam now?
Paul - 26-May-15 @ 6:10 PM
I was just wondering how long it takes for mediation to start as my solicitor applied for it 4 weeks ago and I still haven't heard anything ?
wanttobeadad - 14-Apr-15 @ 11:37 AM
@dd - you might like our partner site Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 28-Nov-14 @ 2:49 PM
If my partner has asked me to go to mediation, do i have to go, i can't see it will do us any good as we argue enough as it is.
dd - 26-Nov-14 @ 12:26 PM
My wife and I divorced 6 years ago, I have always had regular contact with my daughter (who is 10) and for the past 5 years this has increased each year, last year I had her 181 days so the csa awarded me shared care, because this dropped my ex wifes money she has now cancelled her csa case whivh means I now pay more money for another older child that I do not see and my exwife has said that my only contact will now be just 4 days over 2 weeks as per a solicitors agreement(not court order) from over 5 years ago. I was refused contact of any type on fathers dsy this yearbut was only told this the dsay before. My daughter has asked to come and live with me but when she asked her mother she was told to "get that idea out of your head".I always take her abroad on holiday unlike my ex wife who does go abroad but chooses not to take our daughter but does take her eldest and 2 other younger children from her new partner. She will not talk to me and I have asked numerous times if we csn sit down and discuss this amicably but she will not. I do not want to go to court but I do not think she will agree to mediation
John - 21-Jun-14 @ 11:41 AM
My wife and I have split up 2 months ago as I met someone else. We have a son almost 5. We have resolved money, I will support them and have left the house with no mortgage to them. I wish to see my son 50% of the time. My wife wanted my new partner to not be involved in my sons like for 6 months, this is now changed to 12 months. Can we seek mediation to try to resolve this matter as I feel the best people to decide our sons future are us and not the courts but feel we are heading towards that.
Dan - 2-Apr-14 @ 10:18 PM
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