What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a conversation. It takes place between two people who have been in some form of relationship which is ending. Family mediation helps them make decisions for the future. It helps people and especially parents focus on issues affecting them both, for example parenting, property and money and what to do about it all now they are separated.

Family mediation typically involves the couple attending a series of face to face meetings. And the discussions are facilitated by a professional, trained mediator.

Our family mediators know communicating after a separation is tough. So they are skilled at helping people work through issues they have to consider. These include emotional, practical, legal, financial and technical things.

And our mediators are skilled at helping when feelings are running high, at a time when co-operation is the last thing somebody expects from their ex.

The issues discussed in family mediation can include:  

  • How assets will be divided.
  • What happens to the family home.
  • Where the children will spend time.
  • Support payments to be made.

The agenda can be anything that you both agree to discuss and mediate. 

If you face divorce or separation, and don’t know which way to turn, family mediation can help. That’s because it can enable you to sort arrangements for children, property, finance and other important matters.

  • Family mediation is much quicker, less stressful and usually cheaper than heading straight to court.
  • It enables you to shape long-term solutions that are in your family’s best interests.
  • The process allows families to keep control of their own destinies, instead of handing it over to courts.

Family mediation is open to anybody affected by family breakdown including separation, divorce and dissolution of civil partnership. 

Mediation is also available to other family members. Grandparents may be having difficulties over contact arrangements, for example. And step-parents can use the process if they would like to support their new partner. 

NFM’s style of meditation gives you time to express yourself. We understand this is a difficult time. Our mediators will not rush you to solutions, or push you to make a hasty agreement. Instead, they focus on ensuring the outcome is truly what both people believe is best in the circumstances.  

Our mediators help families resolve all the practical, legal, emotional and financial issues that arise from separation. They help families make long-lasting arrangements that benefit everyone in the family, especially their children. 

Because of our experience and expertise providing mediation you will be surprised at the level of agreement you can achieve. Only in exceptional cases is no agreement reached. 

 Our fully qualified mediators are trained in all aspects of family law. And we are the leading training providers for family mediators. 

 NFM is the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales. And we have nearly 40 years’ experience delivering expert professional family mediation (established in 1982).

 NFM is local to you: our network works in over 500 locations across England and Wales. 

The mediator’s job is to make you aware of the things you each need to do to achieve a legal separation. So yhey help you to gather the information, facilitate the discussions, and help you develop options and solutions.  

You can think of the mediator as the chair of the meeting, guiding people through their agenda. The mediator ensures each can express and spell out their thoughts and suggestions without interruption.

The mediator is there to help the discussion. The mediator ensures each person has time and space to put their views across. And they keep the discussions productive and safe. 

Expertise and experience

Family mediators do not express a point of view, or make a value judgement. Their expertise and experience allows them to give information to help you understand the legal and financial issues involved. And they can guide you to the best legal solution in your case.  

Mediators are able to draw on their experience of what other people have done in similar circumstances. They help you look at the pros and cons of any particular course of action. 

Making decisions

Decisions made will be noted by the mediator, and each of you will receive a written summary of these. You will also get any proposals that have yet to be agreed, and any actions that need to follow. 

It means you don’t need to take notes. Instead you can concentrate on the discussion and create your own solutions for your separated futures.  

NFM’s expert family mediators use a range of skills to help people plan for the future: 

  • Helping you identify the things that you need to discuss.
  • Managing the agenda in a timely way.
  • Using questions to help people identify priorities and needs.
  • Listening to ensure your points are really heard and understood.
  • Summarising understanding. 
  •  Not taking sides, but encouraging self-determination.
  • Ensuring access to necessary information.
  • Helping people spell out arrangements to check they will work.
  • These skills are designed to help you decide for yourself what is best in all the circumstances. 
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