Written by Louisa Whitney

Family Mediator at LKW Family Mediation

After working as a family lawyer for 11 years, Louisa shifted her focus to family mediation to empower separating couples to find resolutions tailor made for their family in the most constructive, respectful, amicable and dignified way possible

This is a really great question to ask if you’ve separated from a partner and you have issues to resolve regarding your children, or money – or both.  Firstly, mediation is a good way of resolving these issues because it means you can work together to find solutions that work for you both and which take into account your respective priorities and objectives.  You can also work out a resolution that’s tailored to the needs of your children.  It can often help to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding because you are talking to each other directly and the mediator can help you both to be clear about what it is you are wanting to say.  The mediator provides a safe and supported space and helps you to structure your discussions so that they stay on track.  They guide you through difficult processes like resolving financial issues on a step by step basis.  The mediator is an expert in family issues so they can provide information and guidance on all aspects of separation.

The mediator provides a safe and supported space and helps you to structure your discussions so that they stay on track.

If you have concerns about the suitability of mediation or your safety or wellbeing then raise these concerns with the mediator.  No mediator will bring both parties together until they have met with you both individually to assess whether it is safe and suitable.  Share your concerns openly and honestly with the mediator and they will look at whether there are safeguards that can be put in place to help you feel more comfortable.  If it would not be safe or sensible to bring you both together then the mediator will record that mediation isn’t suitable.  You can then use one of the other dispute resolution processes that exist to resolve the issues.

Sometimes mediation can be safe and suitable but people can still be worried about coming together to talk about issues.  This is natural and normal and completely understandable.  It takes an enormous amount of courage to sit in a room with your ex-partner and take ownership together of what happens next and how you’re going to find a solution to the issues you both see.

The good news is that the mediation is there to help and support you and to assist if there are difficulties in your communication.  Mediators are specially trained and are well versed in communication difficulties so they can help you highlight areas or habits that are causing problems in your communication.  If you are both prepared to work to improve things then mediation will help you to understand how you can make things better as well as helping you to find solutions.

This is particularly useful for parents as there will always be issues around children that crop up.  It might be to do with schooling or a medical issue or just generally how you approach providing support for your children with a situation they’re finding difficult.  So being able to communicate clearly and effectively with each other will greatly support you going forward to be the best co-parents you can be.

You can find a mediator local to you here.

The search function enables you to look for a legal aid mediator if you’re eligible for legal aid as this will fund the costs of your mediation.  If you want to talk about issues relating to children (even if there is other issues too) then you may be eligible to claim a voucher from the government for £500 towards your mediation costs.

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