Family Mediation

Family Mediation is a process of assisted negotiation. A couple meet with an independent mediator who will assist them to discuss and resolve the issues that they wish to resolve. The discussions are confidential.

The mediator will want to make sure that meetings are focused and both are able to put their point of view. There are often several meetings. In financial cases, both must give full financial disclosure. The mediator will help the couple to concentrate on the issues, to listen to each other and to make informed decisions.

Our Family Mediation Service

Our Family Mediators are David Howell-Richardson and Ian Walker. Both Ian and David also Solicitors and are Accredited to provide Family Mediation by the Law Society. Both have been mediators since the 1990’s.

Ian Walker is also Family Mediation Accredited by the Family Mediation Council and is a Child Law Arbitrator with Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA). Our inside knowledge of Arbitration allows us to offer a Mediation with Arbitration Service, where couples can commit to the Arbitrator (a private judge) making a legally binding decision if mediation fails (which it sometimes does).

Specialists in Family Mediation of divorce financial cases

Mediation is a good way of reaching agreement on financial issues when there is a divorce. To make agreements binding, there still needs to be a Court Order approved by a Judge. After a financial family mediation has concluded our mediators can then prepare the financial order if instructed by both clients as a solicitor to act on a neutral basis.

Ian Walker and David Howell-Richardson both represent clients in divorce finance cases acting as solicitors. This means that when acting as neutral mediators we can provide up to date legal information on a neutral basis. We are well placed to ensure that clients have addressed all the matters they need to and decisions are robust.

Specialists in Family Mediation in complex children disputes

Ian Walker and David Howell-Richardson have both been members of the Law Society Children Panel since the 1990’s. This means lots of experience at representing parents in court in complex cases. We know from our vast experience that whilst mediation is not always easy, and requires hard work to achieve real change, that family mediation often offers a better alternative to fighting things out in Court.

The voice of children is always important. Sometimes it is helpful or necessary for children’s voices to be heard in mediation to help their parents to make decisions. When this is the case we are assisted by our Children Consultant; Julie Cornwell, who is an independent social worker with many years experience working for CAFCASS as a Children’s Guardian and Court Reporter.

Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings

It is now a Legal requirement that a person who wishes to apply to the Court about a family matter must (unless a limited exemption applies) meet with an approved Mediator to consider Mediation first. The other party will also be expected to meet with the Mediator. Failure to do so could lead to a costs order being made against them. The preliminary Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (called a MIAM) is compulsory. In most cases it is expected that mediation will follow.

Ian Walker has been a Mediator since 1996 and is authorised to undertake Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings.

We are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency and can provide FREE Mediation to those who qualify. 

Legally Aided Family Mediation

Our Family Mediation Service is contracted with the Legal Aid Agency to provide Legally Aided Family Mediation in Honiton, Exeter and Taunton

We are the only Family Mediation Service which is contracted with the Legal Aid Agency to offer family mediation, which is based in East Devon. This means that those based in places such as Honiton, Seaton, Axminster, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary and Exmouth, do not need to travel into Exeter to access a Legally Aided Family Mediation Service.

From our Taunton we regularly see family mediation clients from around Somerset.

Cheaper and better than arguing in Court

Even if you don’t qualify for Legal Aid, the cost of a successful mediation is much less than a long draw out Court process and outcomes in our long experience of both Court and Mediation are usually better. Most importantly, parents are usually better able to get on with each other which is better for their children.

Member of Resolution Dispute Resolution Committee/former trustee of FMA

Key points from Ian’s career as a mediator include;

  • Ian trained as a family mediator in 1996 by two of the founders of the Family Mediators Association (FMA), who had pioneered the use of mediation to resolve financial disputes arising from divorce in the UK.
  • Ian was one of the first 20 Family Mediators to be accredited as a mediator by Resolution.
  • Ian is Accredited as a Family Mediator by the Law Society. (This is the most stringent accreditation scheme).
  • Ian is Accredited as a Family Mediator with the Family Mediation Council (FMC)
  • Ian is  a supervisor of other mediators.
  • Ian is trained undertake direct consultation with children within mediation.
  • Ian has served as a member of the Governing Board of the Family Mediators Association after being elected  by fellow family mediators.
  • Ian is a current member of the Dispute Resolution Committee of Resolution – which includes mediation policy in its remit.
  • Ian is also a Civil/Commercial and a workplace mediator and can bring these different ways of working into Family Mediation practice.

An experienced Mediator can make a big difference

The Mediator’s use of their skills can be quite subtle. Both need to have confidence in the Mediator. Experience can make a considerable difference to the prospects of success.