Separation & Divorce Mediation

Mediation: reaching agreement when you divorce or separate

South East London Family Mediation is here to help you reach agreements related to matters about children, finance and property.

What takes place in mediation?

You will be invited to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting). You can explain your situation and the issues you want to try and resolve. The mediator will explain what happens in mediation and assess the suitability for mediation.  

If you both wish to proceed after your MIAMs, and if the case is suitable for mediation, we will arrange a joint session with one of our team of mediators. The mediator will facilitate the sessions and help you both to make decisions about  arrangements for children and/or finance and property. Meetings can take place in person at our office in south London or online via Zoom. 

Our Mediators

Between them our mediators have over 120 years experience. All our mediators are accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMCA) and function within its Mediation Code of Practice. 

Advantages of mediation compared to court proceedings:

  • Parents retain control of decisions which affect the children
  • Children benefit because of reduced conflict
  • If you are on a low income you may be eligible for legal aid for mediation
  • It can be done quickly: it can be completed in weeks rather than months
  • Costs are likely to be far lower than lengthy court proceedings

Mediation FAQs

Family mediators are there to help you to reach decisions about things that are important for you and your family. They can help you to find a way to plan for the future and to agree what will work best for you without having to go to court. That can save you time, money and stress.

Mediation provides you with the space and time to think about what is most important for your children and for the whole family. You can work out how arrangements for your children will work best and think about what is going to be important for your children as they grow up.

Regardless of whether you are a parent or not, mediation can help you deal with your money, the options you may have about where you will live, and planning your future finances.

Contact a mediator as soon as you need help sorting things out. Even if you’ve been separated for a while, or if your case has already gone to court, mediation can still help to resolve things.

You can’t usually take your case to court until you find out if mediation can help you first. If you can’t show that you’ve considered it, the judge may stop or delay proceedings until you have.

Once you’ve found a mediator, the next step is to attend a first meeting with them to find out if it’s right for you. Sometimes this is called a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

If you think you need legal advice to help you during mediation, this can be arranged at any time during the process. You might be able to get legal aid to pay for this.

If your case is not suitable for mediation you will still need to show the judge you’ve considered it by filling in the relevant court form.

Once you have both had a MIAM meeting an appointment can be made for your first mediation session.

If you decide not to continue into mediation or it’s not suitable in your circumstances then the mediator can sign the relevant court form to show you have considered mediation. This means you can take your case to court, if that’s what you decide to do next.

Once you have both had a MIAM meeting your first mediation session can be booked. For Child Issues cases 1-2 sessions are typically needed. For All Issues or Property and Finance cases between 3-5 sessions are more commonly required.

The mediator will usually see you and your ex-partner together, either at our office or via Zoom, although you should be offered the choice to see the mediator separately if you need to (Shuttle Mediation).

Mediators are trained to:

  • Listen and help you both to work out what has to be dealt with.
  • Discuss what your options might be and what might work best for the future.
  • Make sure you both have chance to speak and be heard.
  • Provide any legal information needed to help your discussions or confirm when you need to consult a family lawyer.
  • Tell you when you might need further independent advice on matters such as pensions.
  • Ensure decisions are made jointly, are fair for both of you, for any children involved, and for your family circumstances.

When you reach agreement, the mediator will put it in writing and make sure you’re all clear about what it means.

The decisions you reach aren’t legally binding on their own. But you can ask a court to make what you’ve decided into a legally binding consent order. Your mediator can explain what this is and how you can get a consent order.

There is a cost for this court application and your mediator will be able to provide information about this. If you get legal aid you may qualify for free legal advice and help with this.

We charge per session (not per hour) and for mediation sessions we apply a ‘sliding scale’. See Our Fees page.

At your first (MIAM) meeting, the mediator will be able to give you an estimate of how much mediation is likely to cost, based on their understanding of what it is you hope to deal with. They will also help you check if you can get legal aid or the Family Mediation Voucher to help pay for it.