Family Mediation - The Way Forward? (Pt. 1)

A complex question perhaps but certainly one worthy of consideration.

Following relationship breakdown there are relatively few ways to resolve disputes relating to arrangements for children and/or property and financial matters, the main options being:

1. The parties resolving issues direct between themselves
2. Negotiating settlement via solicitors without contested court proceedings
3. Making a formal application to the court
4. Mediation
All options have both disadvantages and advantages as follows:

Resolving issues direct


The cheapest and most amicable option.


This is something quite difficult to achieve when emotions are running high, agreement can only be reached following calm, rational and constructive conversation. Often people attempting this option end up ‘mud slinging’ or playing ‘the blame game’ and nothing is achieved.

Negotiating via solicitors


Avoids the pitfalls referred to above.
People often feel that they have support and that their legal position is protected.


There is a cost involved in instructing solicitors, Legal Aid is usually not available.

Court Proceedings


Any outstanding issues will definitely be resolved.
There may be complex issues which require detailed exploration.


Cost – The average cost in relation to contested applications about children is in the region of £5,000 and in relation to property and financial matters the average cost is £10,000 to £20,000; again, Legal Aid is not usually available.

Timescale – The courts are incredibly busy with applications taking several months to be concluded.

Court is adversarial and can often be a stressful process for the parties and their children.

There is no guarantee that you will get the outcome you hope for. Decisions rest solely with the judge or magistrates.


Part 2 coming soon…