Divorce mediation which is often carried out by a specially trained independent family law solicitor is an attempt to bring about settlement or compromise in disputed areas on an agreed basis between two parties who are in the process of divorce or separation. A qualified lawyer who deals with these matters usually has many years experience of giving divorce legal advice to clients and is ideally suited for the position.
A mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator and does not come to binding decisions about a dispute and does not issue orders that must be obeyed or give divorce legal advice. A mediator is a trained, neutral and impartial third-party with special skills that may, with both parties consent, assist in the resolution of disputes before or after the commencement of legal action in the courts.
The Law Society operates The Family Mediation Panel (FMP) to assist the public to identify a family law solicitor who provides either children-only or financial-only services in family and matrimonial disputes. Members of FMP have had their skills, knowledge and experience rigorously and independently assessed.
There are two main types of divorce mediation:-
1. Out Of Court Dispute Resolution:
This service should be provided by members of the United Kingdom College of Family Mediators. A couple can refer themselves to a number of different organisations either before or after the issue of divorce proceedings to attempt to reach an amicable solution to issues that may be in dispute. Couples who are referred by a solicitor may be eligible for publicly-funded legal services to attend the sessions.
2. Court Based Dispute Resolution:
This scheme exists in divorce county courts and is usually provided by the children and family court advisory service. A couple who are in dispute about child contact during divorce or separation proceedings will be seen by a children and family ‘reporter’ with a district judge present and if the dispute continues the reporter will arrange a meeting with the family either together or individually and thereafter report the findings to the judge. If agreement on contact has not been made then the district judge can order that a welfare report is produced before making a final decision on the case. There is no charge for this service.
In a typical scenario the parties are offered a series of meetings to discuss the problems and obtain information about the disputed areas prior to exploring possible arrangements that will resolve the difficulties. Family mediators work in voluntary organisations, private practices and as family law solicitor specialists in law offices and charge at different levels and some can provide divorce mediation which is publicly funded for those that are eligible.
The United Kingdom College of Family Mediators is the professional body for family mediators and has a directory of members available to the public.
England and Wales
Bristol BS1 4BS
Tel: 0117 904 7223 Fax: 0117 904 3331
18 York Place
Tel: 0131 558 9898
Fax: 0131 558 9831
10 Upper Crescent
Tel: 028 9043 8614
Fax: 028 9031 4430
Our nationwide network of specialist lawyers will give initial free advice on all matters relating to matrimonial disputes including dissolution of marriage, separation, injunctions, finance and agreements and court orders relating to custody and access to children without further obligation. If after talking to us you decide not to take matters further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged anything at all.