What is Mediation?

Mediation offers a supportive, flexible and cost-effective way for people to address matters relating to their family on separation.

Family mediation is a process where a Mediator supports and helps you and family members to communicate more effectively and to find consensual resolution during times of dispute which often occurs following separation and typically covers issues such as financial matters and children disputes (where the children will live, or how often they see each parent).

Mediation is a confidential process meaning that anything that is discussed in the meetings cannot be referred to outside the process. This allows you to speak freely and think outside the box. The only time the mediator can break the confidentially of mediation is in a situation where there is an admission of criminal activity or the welfare of a child or vulnerable person is at risk. The mediator will give a clear explanation of what action they will take.

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Is mediation compulsory in the UK?

Attending mediation is a voluntary process. What should be remembered is that Courts anticipate that parties will try mediation before taking their dispute to court. Many court applications require a mediator to sign a form before it is filed at court but there are some exemptions that may apply. If you refuse to attend mediation and an exemption does not apply, a Judge has the power to stop the proceedings and ask you try mediation first.

Family Mediation FAQs

How does mediation work?

Family mediation has a very structured process.

Step 1

You and your former partner individually are invited to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is a fact finding and gathering process where your concerns, issues, fears and outcomes are discussed and noted.

Step 2

If following the MIAM’s, the mediator concludes the case is suitable for mediation, a joint session is arranged.

Step 3

During the initial mediation session, the mediator will explain the ground rules and what is expected of everyone in the sessions. This information is written down and is called an “Agreement to Mediate” and having gone through the document, both parties will be asked to sign the document.

Step 4

If you and your former partner agree proposals, the mediator will discuss with both parties about the best way to turn these into a legally binding agreement and if it is in fact necessary. It is likely at this stage that each party will seek the instruction of a family solicitor to assist.

Below are the different types of mediation

Sole Mediation

Is where you, your former partner and the mediator meet in one room to discuss the issues you are dealing with. Sessions are generally between 60 and 90 minutes long and as a rule of thumb it takes between 3-4 sessions for parties to come to an agreement. It can be shorter or slightly longer depending on the complexity of the issues.

Shuttle Mediation

Is the second most common type of mediation. This is when you and your former partner do not or cannot be in the same room together. In such situations, the mediator will go between two rooms to carry out discussions. It is very helpful for people who have been in a volatile relationship in the past and personal safety may be a worry. One disadvantage of shuttle mediation is the increased time it takes to carry out discussion and as a result, the costs are often a little more.


Is when there are two mediators in the room. This can be advantageous when there is a high level of conflict between the two people or where the issues are complex or requires a specialist.

Child Consultations

Sometimes if a child is old enough, it can be good to have input from them. These types of mediation are highly specialized the mediator will need to have the requisite qualification before this type of mediation can be attempted. Parental authority from both is always needed to carry out child consultations.

If you would like to know more about this process or feel this could be something you and your partner would benefit from, please contact Matt Clemence at [email protected] or telephone Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584, where Matt will be happy to speak with you.


Am I too late to mediate?

It is never too late to mediate even if court proceedings have started, mediation can begin.

Who pays for family mediation?

Ordinarily, the costs involved are shared equally between the parties. However, on occasion, one party may by agreement pay a greater proportion of the associated costs, or alternatively pay the costs in full.

When is mediation not appropriate?

It should be noted that mediation is not appropriate when there is evidence of domestic abuse, or significant welfare/child protection issues are raised by one or both parties at the initial Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

One of the key tasks of the mediator at the MIAM is to carry out a safeguarding screening enquiry with each party, to consider if it is both safe and appropriate to mediate. If the mediator does not consider it safe and appropriate to mediate, then mediation will not take place, and the parties will have to find an alternative means of resolving their dispute.

Are you open on Saturdays?

At Kerseys we understand not everyone is available between 9-5 Monday to Friday which is why we adopt a more flexible approach. Pre booked appointments can be arranged for after-hours any day of the week or at weekends which are in addition to a member of our Team being available between 9.30-12.30 via our website on the first Saturday of each month and on the second Wednesday of the month until 6.15pm. (For Wednesday after hours, please ensure you pre book these by calling the department in advance).

Our family lawyers are all set up to work from home, so we are no longer constrained by appointments having to take place in the office between 9-5. We now offer appointments over the telephone and also via a number of video platforms. This added flexibility, means that your family lawyer can be on hand to help you at any time convenient to you.

If you are a member of the Police Federation, we offer:

1. FREE initial consultation at a day and time convenient to you, even after hours or at weekends

2. 10% off our fees for the duration of the matter (this offer also extends to our Residential Property department).

What is a legal separation (often referred to as Judicial Separation)?

A judicial separation is a formal separation which is sanctioned by the court. It enables the court to make orders about the division of money and property, similar to the orders which can be made on divorce, without actually terminating the marriage.

What are legal proceedings?

Legal Proceedings are court based applications such as divorce, finances, children arrangements as well as Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act applications which cover unmarried couples with property disputes.

Is a name change legal?

Yes, as long as it is correctly undertaken. We offer a Change of Name Deed service. If seeking to change a forename or surname of a child, both parents need to consent. Where consent is not given, a court application can be made to deal with this specific issue.

Is a pre-nuptial agreement legal?

Pre and post nuptial agreements are yet to “bind” courts to their content should they be disputed. However there has been a raft of case law since the leading case of Radmacher in 2009 in which Courts are now attaching significant weight to their existence as long as the criteria for their formulation has been strictly adhered to. Ultimately however, a court will always consider the content of such an agreement when deciding financial relief cases.

The way we work

Fair, acceptable settlement through negotiation is always the preferred solution, to save you stress and expense. If that’s not possible, then we will fight your case strongly through the courts.

We encourage you to gather as much relevant information and documentation as you can, in order to lessen your costs. Our initial advice will include assessing whether you can handle the case, or elements of it, yourself. It’s another potential way you can contain expense.

We prefer to give you a firm quotation of costs upfront. If that isn’t possible in your case, we will explain why.

Do you offer a free or fixed fee appointment?

We offer a 45 minute fixed fee appointment, in which we provide you with bespoke legal advice and include setting out your options on how to move forward. Our fixed fee for this is £125.00 plus VAT (£150.00 in total) and is payable in advance of the meeting. Don’t worry if the meeting runs over, you will not be charged any additional fee.

Family Team

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