Mediation FAQs

Family Mediation is a process in which those involved in family breakdown appoint an impartial third person to help them reach their own agreed and informed decisions  (including decisions about child arrangements and financial issues) . Please see below for further information about how mediation works, what issues it can be used to address and how it is of benefit.

  • A separating couple can reach a solution which suits the family’s specific needs and requirements; these are not necessarily what a court would impose on them.
  • It offers a dignified, civilised approach to separation in a private and secure setting.
  • It is cost effective –  most of the work is done in meetings and there is very little, if any, solicitors’ correspondence.
  • It is non-adversarial – unlike the court process.  
  • The separating couple sets the agenda and pace of the process.
  • Where there are children, mediation can build better communication between parents.
  • The children are at the heart of the process – they can be seen by the mediator and their wishes can be taken into account.
  • Children – how the children will spend time with each parent, where they will go to school and other issues relating to their welfare
  • Parenting – if you have not been able to agree how you will parent, the mediator assists you in drawing up a Parenting Plan, setting out matters relating to the children’s welfare and how you will communicate going forward
  • The process of separation or divorce, the timescale and how to manage the separation in the best interests of the children (including how to talk to them)
  • Financial issues arising out of divorce and separation including:
    • Property and the division of capital - including where you, your former partner and the children will live
    • Maintenance – both child maintenance and, where appropriate, spousal maintenance provision (payments to your former spouse)
    • Pensions – whether there should be a pension sharing or pension attachment order, or whether pensions should be “offset” against the other person receiving a greater share of the capital resources.
    • How family businesses, business shareholdings, inherited assets and any other financial matters arising out the separation are to be resolved
  • Pre-nuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements and Cohabitation Agreements
  • Financial issues arising upon the breakdown of a cohabiting relationship or civil partnership.

In most cases, couples attend the mediation meetings with just the mediator present (ie, without lawyers attending) although sometimes lawyers do attend (what is known as “solicitor-inclusive mediation”), for example where there are complex issues.

Throughout the process (at the outset and between meetings), both parties have the opportunity to seek independent legal advice from their own solicitor.

At the end of the process, the mediator prepares a “Memorandum of Understanding”, which sets out what has been agreed. This is only binding upon the couple once each person has had the opportunity to seek advice on the proposed agreement from their own solicitor.

Financial information or documentary disclosure that is exchanged in mediation is “open” – so it can be used in another process (including court proceedings) if the process breaks down.

However, settlement proposals or discussions over options for settlement that take place in mediation cannot be referred to should the process break down, thereby encouraging an option-based approach to settlement.

Most Resolution mediators are qualified and practising solicitors who understand the law, in addition to being trained in mediation skills.

Mediation takes place “in the shadow of the law” and therefore having a Resolution-trained mediator is helpful, as he or she can provide valuable legal information and bring experience to bear on the process.

Edward Cooke is an accredited mediator trained by Resolution, the nationwide organisation of family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes.

Edward is also a family lawyer and a collaborative lawyer, who is accredited by Resolution as a family law specialist with particular expertise in financial cases and children law.

Edward Cooke is also an accredited mediator, which means he is able to undertake Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (“MIAMS”).

An amalgamation of best family law practice and civil mediation principles, hybrid mediation is often used in complex divorce and family cases which involve significant financial resources, as well as high-conflict cases. In traditional family mediation, lawyers tend not to attend meetings but advise alongside the process between meetings, However, in the hybrid mediation process, lawyers often attend the sessions.

Hybrid mediation offers clients a genuine alternative in complex and more high conflict cases which might otherwise end up in court to lengthy, adversarial court proceedings, Edward Cooke is qualifed as a Hybrid mediator and so we offer this service.

Where one person does not feel able to sit in the same room with another person in mediation (due to domestic abuse or for another reason), it is possible for the mediator to conduct shuttle mediation. This involves the mediator conducting the mediation with the parties across two rooms, shuttling between the two rooms. Shuttle mediation is available both in the traditional family mediation model but also in the hybrid mediation process.

Whilst this process can take longer than a conventional mediation meeting, where a couple sits in the same room together, shuttle mediation can be highly effectve where, even if one person cannot sit in the same room as the other person, the couple still wishes to resolve matters through mediation.

For more information or to book an initial Mediation appointment, please contact Edward Cooke Family Mediation on 01243 769001.

Get in touch

We are here to help.

We offer meetings in our offices or online to suit you. To make an initial appointment please click here and complete the contact form, or if you would rather speak to a member of our friendly team directly please call 01243 769001.

Family Law Awards
The Law Society