Mediation works by helping people who have decided to separate or divorce or who are trying to deal with changes in family relationships to talk things through.

Mediators are trained to help you discuss and agree on the best arrangements for the future. This may be about arrangements for your children, your money or the practicalities of how life will work in the future.

Mediation works because it Helps you make informed decisions that are right for your circumstances, your future and the future of your family. It provides somewhere to talk calmly and privately and can provide a cost effective solution. It helps children by helping their parents to work together to plan for their future.

Mediation can be especially helpful where parents need to sort out how they can best raise their children even though they will no longer be living together. If you are a parent, a skilled mediator can help you focus on what is best for your children, so you are more likely to reach an agreement that ensures their future security and happiness.

How does mediation work?

Mediators listen to you to find out what is important to you and help you to make your own choices and decisions about the best way forward. They will help you reach practical solutions which work for you, and if you are parents, for your children. You will probably have a number of sessions together with the mediator – three to five one to two hour sessions are common.

You can consult your own solicitor at any time, to take legal advice on what is best for you. When you are both satisfied with the  decisions you have reached, your solicitor will then complete the legal formalities.S

Since April 2014 most people engaged in family court proceedings are required to attend an initial meeting (a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting sometimes referred to as a ‘MIAM’) to find out about the ways in which it is possible to sort things out away from the courtroom, including whether mediation is suitable for them.

Mediation is not appropriate in all circumstances and if it isn't right for you there are other options for resolving your dispute.