During a divorce or separation hostility and anger are common between couples and talking to an ex partner face to face can be difficult. Equally few people want the trauma and expense of a long drawn out court battle. Mediation offers a middle way to help both of you reach an agreement regarding your divorce or separation.

Mediation involves negotiating with a trained mediator to resolve issues such as finance, the division of assets and arrangements for children. The mediator is there to cast an impartial eye over both sides, ensuring that each have an equal say and exploring possible options before helping them to find a solution.

Before agreeing to mediation you will probably need to sign a document agreeing to abide by any ground rules set by the mediator and disclose any financial information if finances are to be discussed. The number of sessions will vary according to your case. You and your spouse set the agenda and decide which issues you would like to discuss. This could be all or part of your divorce settlement.

There are many professional bodies and voluntary organisations that offer mediation. Talk to your solicitor or local court for further details.

Points to be aware of:

  • Mediation is not a forum for couples to sort out their differences and get back together or a way for either party to air their personal grievances
  • When children are involved the children's welfare is at the top of the agenda and a mediator can help when ill feeling is clouding what is in their best interests
  • Court mediation services vary enormously depending upon the area you live in and the caseload of your mediator
  • Mediation can be emotionally draining and after a session you may feel the need to talk to a counsellor. It can also be a long, laborious process depending upon the complexities of your case
  • Sometimes mediation cannot help, particularly if one spouse has gone with fixed expectations in mind and refuses to co-operate. The success of mediation depends upon the willingness to negotiate and realistic expectations of both parties
  • At the end of mediation any agreements are not legally binding. An agreement will need to be drawn up within a legal framework and both parties sign any documentation For links to mediation services click here