How does mediation work? 

To begin with, you will be asked to attend an initial assessment meeting so that you can find out how the mediation process will operate and make an informed decision about whether to proceed.

Mediation is completely voluntary, so it will only happen if you and your former partner want to go ahead. Assessment meetings can be conducted with you on your own, or jointly with your former partner. Legal Aid is available for those who meet the financial criteria. Click here to find out whether you're eligible for Legal Aid. The assessment meeting also allows your mediator to consider whether mediation is suitable for your family. If there are concerns about domestic violence, child protection issues or a power imbalance between you and your former partner, mediation may well not be appropriate.

If mediation does go ahead, you and your former partner will join your mediator in getting together around the table to try and reach solutions to the issues you have raised. When discussing children, the priority will always be what is in their best interests. When trying to discuss a financial settlement, your mediator will help you to produce the documents needed to provide you with a full picture of the family finances and then work with you to try to assist you in reaching a settlement which you can then pass to your lawyers to incorporate in a legally binding Court Order.

Your mediator will not give legal advice, but they can provide factual legal information if it is helpful to do so. Your own lawyers can also be on hand to give legal advice to you as the mediation proceeds.

The majority of people who attend mediation succeed in coming up with workable solutions. For the few that don’t, it remains open to them to consult their lawyers and, if necessary, explore other methods of dispute resolution, including an application to the Court.

"Yesterday's meeting was informative and really helpful. I really appreciated your honest and sincere advice; it helped me to gain a sense of perspective and find a way forward. Thanks once again for your help... I really could not have asked for a better service."