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Legal Aid is provided by the government to cover the cost of family mediation services for families in dispute.

It is means-tested. So you have to provide evidence of your current financial circumstances to prove you’re entitled to receive it. 

If you are eligible, Legal Aid will cover all your individual mediation costs. It will also cover costs of the initial appointment and first mediation meeting for the other person, if they’re not eligible in their own right. 

Eligibility for Legal Aid also enables you to get legal aid for legal costs, up to a cost limit.

There is no strict rule about how many family mediation sessions are needed before a settlement is reached. That’s because each case is very different. The length of the process is also shaped by the nature of the issues being mediated.  

As an example, an ‘All Issues Mediation’ case is one involving sorting out property, finance and parenting arrangements. And this will tend to be more complex than one in which only the finances or parenting need to be mediated.  

Typically, however, couples will find they attend between three and five sessions before the process concludes.  

To see if you can get legal aid for family mediation, follow these steps.

The mediator will complete a form called a CIVMEANS7 at your initial MIAM meeting. You then sign and date it. That’s because this helps us calculate your income and outgoings. You need to bring documents confirming your income to your meeting and attach them to the form.  

As a guide, you may be eligible if: 

  • Receive Income Support, Universal Credit, income based JSA, incomebased ESA, Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Live on your own and your household income is less than £17,000 p.a.
  • Have a household income less than £21,000 p.a. and you live with a partner and/or dependent children

We usually require pre-payment for all our meetings. For more about fees use this link.

Once your Legal Aid assessment is complete, and you are confirmed as eligible we will refund your fee.

In most cases this is the full amount you paid prior to your assessment.  

We make no up-front charges if you receive one of the income-based benefits set out below. Simply send the income evidence required for your assessment to FREEPOST, NATIONAL FAMILY MEDIATION or email a copy to 

If you currently have a partner and you live together, we will need information about their income too. 

Some family mediation cases are eligible for funding from Legal Aid.

Here are some examples of cases the Legal Aid Agency would consider eligible: 

  • You’re getting divorced and therefore need to sort out financial arrangements.
  • Child arrangements have broken down, and so you are not seeing your children.
  • Any dispute following family breakdown that may end up in court.

Read full details and see what to do next to get legally aided family mediation here.

At your initial family mediation appointment (the MIAM) you can ask about legal aid for mediation.

They mediator will discuss what issues need resolving. Some family mediation cases are eligible for Legal Aid. But others are not. Examples of cases the Legal Aid Agency would consider eligible are: 

  • You are getting divorced and need to sort out money.
  • Child arrangements have broken down and you are not seeing your children.
  • Any dispute following family breakdown that may end up in court.

We will need your benefit letter confirming you receive: 

  • Income Support
  • Income Based JSA
  • Income Based ESA
  • Universal Credit
  • Guarantee Credit

These must be dated within the last six months.

  1. Your most recent payslip(s) – bring payslips covering a whole month if you are paid weekly
  2. Bank statement(s) –each account money you live on is paid into (salary, benefits, business or other income) 
  3. Your most recent letter confirming the amount of Tax Credits you receive.
  1. Bank statement(s) – each account money you live on is paid into (salary, benefits, business or other income)  
  2. Your most recent letter confirming the amount of Tax Credits you receive
  3. Invoice/cash book or working accounts
  4. Latest self-assessment tax return or latest audited accounts.

Benefit notification or most recent letter notifying a change in benefit amount. The letter must be less than six months old and state which benefit you receive.  

If your letter is more than six months old then please also send your most recent bank statement, which will show that your benefit is still in payment




Ask the DWP or Jobcentre Plus to provide you with a letter confirming you are still in receipt of your benefit. 

We will also need information about your rent/mortgage payments, payments you are making for child care and any savings or investments you have.  

If you own your home you will need to have a rough idea of its current value and the amount of equity/mortgage you have. 

If you receive child support or spousal maintenance this also counts as income, even if the payment is by way of direct payments for bills, rent or mortgage.  

We also need to take account of any financial help given by friends and relatives. 

We will keep a copy of any documents provided and return the originals to you. 

The mediator will do the calculation based on your income in the month up to the date of your assessment meeting.  

This means we will need paperwork covering that period – if you are unable to provide this we may not be able to complete the assessment.  

Our files are kept for six years and the Legal Aid Agency may ask to audit legally aided cases at any point during that time to ensure that our paperwork and office processes are in order. 

NFM is the leading non-profit provider of family mediation but we receive no government funding for our mediation work. Our fees reflect the time and expertise of our experienced professional mediators. Official figures have shown that making settlements using family mediation is up to five times less expensive than doing so by going through the family court. 

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