Family mediation is a process in which those involved in family breakdown, whether or not they are a couple or other family members, appoint an impartial third person to assist them to communicate better with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions concerning some or all of the issues relating to separation, divorce, children, finance or property by negotiation.

Mediation is short term unlike counselling and therapy which may be long term. An initial information meeting is offered to each parent separately to explain mediation and other sources of help, and consider ways forward. If both parents or parties accept mediation, meetings can be arranged quickly to help contain a family crisis or may be spaced at intervals over several months according to need.

Mediation is a structured process is which each participant needs to feel safe and listened to with conflict contained and managed sensitively. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement. However, this agreement has no legal status but it can be taken to a solicitor and drawn up into a legal deed of separation are a legally binding contract. Mediation helps couples who have decided to separate or divorce, or who have already separated, to negotiate their own terms of agreement, while addressing the needs and interests of all involved. Mediation allows people to make their own decisions. Both parties attend mediation and all discussions are strictly confidential. The mediator is impartial and does not take sides but facilitates the parties to come to their own agreement.

Mediation usually takes between two and six sessions and each session lasts approximately one hour.

Most mediations end with a written document that sets out all the details of the couple’s agreement. This can then be taken to solicitors to be drawn into a legal deed of separation and or a decree of divorce.

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