Family Mediation

Change and restructuring of family life can be incredibly stressful, especially when this happens as a result of separation, divorce or civil partnership dissolution. We know that everyone in the family is affected: we support parents, children, young people and the wider family through family change and disruption.

The aim of mediation is to improve communication, reduce conflict and to agree on practical, workable arrangements for the future, taking into account children’s views, needs and feelings. Our focus is on putting children’s needs first and making separation less stressful for everyone.

Although mediation is primarily for couples whose relationship is over, it’s for all sorts of families – married or unmarried, divorced, separated or never having lived together, younger or older – and for anyone in your family.  Parents, grandparents, step-parents, other significant adults, children and young people can all participate in family mediation.

Conflict is normal in families, and it can arise for a number of different reasons.  Sometimes it helps to get some extra support to find a good way forward.

Family mediators are trained professionals who have a full recognition of the complexity of the issues involved in separation and divorce. All mediators are members of the UK College of Family Mediators.

You can refer yourselves, or ask your lawyer to refer you to mediation.

FAQs

What happens at mediation?
If you want to find out whether mediation can help you, the first step is to get in touch with us.

Although we would like to be able to offer appointments when people first contact us, there may be a short waiting list.

What happens at the first appointment?
Each family member is offered an individual, confidential meeting, which may be called an intake appointment.

Information is shared with a trained intake worker and options are discussed. If after the initial appointments everyone agrees that mediation might be appropriate a joint meeting is then arranged with a mediator. Family members have the opportunity to talk about their concerns, explore options and agree an acceptable way forward.

Family mediation is not appropriate in every situation. You will be advised of other services that may be more helpful for you.

How long does family mediation take?
Mediation sessions usually last between 1 and 1.5 hours. They are with the same mediator and can be arranged at intervals to suit the family circumstances. The number of mediation sessions that people attend varies, but is typically three to five.

You can come back to mediation at a later date if your circumstances or family’s needs change. People often return to mediation when a new baby comes along or a new partner.

What does family mediation cost?
Family Mediation is provided free of charge. We always welcome contributions towards the cost if you can afford it.
Who are the mediators?
Family mediators are trained professionals who have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the complexity of family life and of separation, divorce and family restructuring. All our mediators work to professional standards and go through an annual renewal process to demonstrate that they have met the required standards of practice, supervision and Continuing Professional Development. Read our Code of Professional Conduct for Family Mediators. Read our Practice Standards for Family Mediators [Word Document].
What about confidentiality?
People can talk freely and frankly in mediation. What occurs during family mediation cannot be used in civil proceedings unless both parties want it to be or if there are issues regarding children’s safety or criminal activities.
Mediators are bound by a duty of confidentiality, unless circumstances suggest that the issues being discussed may pose a risk to clients or the wider community. Such issues include domestic abuse, child protection, money laundering and terrorism. In all circumstances, care is taken to protect confidentiality and no disclosure will be made without discussing the issues first, unless there is an urgent risk of harm.
What about the courts?
In Scotland the courts will not become involved in the decisions families make following a separation unless they are asked. Mediation can help you to make decisions about children without going to court. However if you do go to court even at that stage the sheriff may refer you to your local family mediation service.