If you and your ex-partner have already begun in the court process, it is not too late to consider mediation. Many family courts now have a mediator available on days when family proceedings are heard. If you and your solicitors agree that mediation might be an option, the judge may give you time to have a discussion with the mediator before continuing with your case.
In-court mediation is a meeting with the mediator which takes place in a private room within the court. You will each have a chance for individual time with the mediator, so you can discuss your situation and any concerns you might have about mediating with your ex-partner.
As a minimum, you will find out about local mediation services which could give you an alternative route to resolving your dispute. Depending on your circumstances and the time pressures on the day, the mediator may conduct a Mediation Assessment and Information Meeting, and arrange for you to have your first mediation meeting away from the court. The mediator will also assess whether you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid although you will have provide evidence of your income before this can be confirmed. In some situations, it may be possible for you to reach some immediate agreements with the mediator on the day, which can be reported back to the court.
Courts are increasingly happy to work in conjunction with mediation providers. If the outcome of your meeting with the mediator is positive, the judge may adjourn your case or make an interim order, on the understanding that mediation is going to continue away from the court.
National Family Mediation (NFM) is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family
If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.
All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.