Are you suitable for Family Mediation?

Ian Walker Portrait photo

Ian Walker –Solicitor /Mediator/Arbitrator

In short – yes, or you should be able to get yourself to a place where you will be.

The same goes for the other person. They are also suitable for mediation, or can get themselves to a place where they be too.

That doesn’t mean either of you are ready for mediation now, or that mediation will take place now, or at all. You both have to be ready, and you both have to want to go ahead.

What are the barriers to mediation?

Again, in short – emotions.

People separate and remain separated because at least one falls out of love, and at least one starts to find th

Lisa Holden – Solicitor/ Mediator. Head of our Family Mediation Team

e other annoying. Rejection leads to anger, sorrow or both.

People stop listening to each other, they think the worst, they don’t trust.

We often see clients who are or have been depressed.

Realistically, mediation is not going to be able to succeed if one or both is not ready emotionally.

Getting ready to succeed

Mediation should be a better way to resolve problems, but both need to be in the right place emotionally.

Things that can help to get to the right place can include counselling, but also include allowing time and space. Also, the person who is further on emotionally can help by being very careful not to get wound up by the other venting their anger.

Allow the storm to blow over a bit…

legal 500 leading firm logoAssessment meetings

We don’t plough straight into mediation. The starting point is separate confidential assessment meetings to discuss the process, the costs, the issues, and to think about preparation.

Sometimes we meet couples where both want to proceed, but haven’t quite found the words to say so between each other, being slightly stuck in a negative and defensive rut.

… its good to talk.


We prepared this graphic in 2012. It holds true. People, if they are in the right place emotionally recognise the need for fairness. They may have slightly different conceptions of what fairness means in their situation, but that’s fine, we can work with that. Reasonable people, wanting to achieve reasonable outcomes, and are prepared to listen and understand where the other is coming from, will succeed.

Please answer the questions below

Yes No
Do you want to find a solution which prioritises the needs of your children? Mediation is the best choice You don't really mean that. Separation and divorce can be a different time emotionally and we can all say things we do not really mean. It may be helpful to access some counselling, to help you get things back into perspective.
Do you want to achieve a solution which is fair? There is almost a range of solutions to any problem that are fair. People will start with different ideas. To achieve a fair solution, you need to prioritise what is most important for you and look at how you can help the other person achieve what is really important to them. Fairness is a two way street. Mediation is the best way forward. Do you really want to achieve an outcome that is unfair? Any solution imposed by the Court will be one which a Judge considers to be fair. You will not achieve an unfair solution by going to Court. Make sure you find out what contested Court Proceedings really cost. You could achieve the same outcome quicker and more cheaply through mediation.
Do you want to resolve the problems quickly, so you can get your life? Mediation is generally the quickest option. You don't really want to be stuck in dispute for ages and ages? Again, you may find it helpful to get some Counselling.
Do you want to keep the costs of resolving the dispute to a minimum? Have a look at our comparison between the cost of different forms of dispute resolution including Court. In any given dispute, mediation is likely to be the cheapest option. You don't really want to give your hard earned money to your lawyers do you? Will that make you happy?
Do you want to achieve a durable solution to the problem? Mediated solutions are likely to be the most durable because there will only be a solution if both participants find one together, that is acceptable to both. Mediation should also assist the participants improve communications and trust. See our page on contact arrangements If one side "wins" the other "loses" and there will be resentment and possibly the desire for revenge. One way or another, both are likely to end up as "losers" in the long run.
I want to find a solution through a process that is safe Provided it is set up properly Mediation is a safe process. We carry out a risk assessment. Our director has a long track record of expertise where there has been domestic and/or child abuse. We practice different models of mediation, including one where each oartv is in a different room together with appropriate support. We will take great care in finding the right model. How safe is a court based solution really? See our page on comparative cost [including emotional cost]. Going to Court is incredibly stressful. If one side "wins" the other "loses" and there will be resentment and possibly the desire for revenge. A court solution will not necessarily deliver long term safety.