Reaching agreement without the courts


Going to court to reach an agreement with your ex is not inevitable - family mediation might be a less confrontational and costly route.

Why should I consider mediation?

It's generally cheaper, quicker, more flexible and less acrimonious. Children whose parents reach an agreement through mediation find the separation less distressing than when they end up in court, says the research. 

How does mediation work?

It focuses on the thorny issues that divorcing couple often find difficult to agree on. These commonly include: residence; contact; money; property and education.

If you reach agreement via a mediator, he or she can prepare a legal document of the agreement - a consent order - to present to the courts.

What does mediation involve?

The average number of sessions to resolve all issues is usually between three and five, depending on how complex the unresolved issues are. It's a chance to talk about the issues that are preventing you reaching an agreement, but it's not counselling

Mediators are trained to offer non-judgmental advice about ways to reach agreement around your children and other important issues. A good mediator is also able to help you express your thoughts clearly. They won't impose decisions on you, and they can't offer counselling or provide legal advice.

Does mediation work?

Yes, if both parties are willing to work at finding the best way forward together. 

Mediation doesn't preclude using the courts at a later date. And you may want to get legal advice as well as using mediation, for example you should run any documents and proposals past your own solicitor.

Many parents who reach agreement through mediation make return visits if their circumstances change.

How much does mediation cost?

Mediators are legal professionals, so their hourly fees are similar to a solicitor's. Expensive as that may sound, it's considerably less than the cost of a court case.

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Last updated: about 3 years ago