Mediation Services

What is Mediation?

Mediation helps separating couples discuss the decisions that need to be made following separation. It can also be helpful when arrangements that are already in place need to change due to a change in circumstances. A neutral, unbiased, professionally trained mediator will work with you to help you reach an amicable solution. The process is less stressful and significantly quicker than going to court and tends to be much more cost effective.

The mediator’s role is not to provide advice or input on the decision that is made, but to help you both reach the best outcome for your family by asking questions and reality checking proposals to help you reach the outcome that will suit your unique family circumstances best. Mediators are there to assist and help you understand the issues, as well as to provide clarity.

It’s also important to recognise that although the mediation process is voluntary, the courts do encourage mediation and other forms of non-court dispute resolution.

How does mediation work?

Mediators listen to find out what is important to you and help you to make your own choices and decisions about the best way forward. They will help you reach practical solutions which work for you, and if you are parents, for your children. Commonly it can take between three to five joint sessions for you to be able to reach an outcome at mediation. You can consult your own lawyer at any time, to take legal advice on what is best for you.

When you are both satisfied with the decisions you have reached, your lawyer will then complete the legal formalities. As your mediator is neutral and impartial they cannot give legal advice or draw up the documents to create a legally binding agreement. You may each want to take independent legal advice alongside mediation and your mediator will let you know at what points during the mediation sessions it might be helpful for you to take independent legal advice.

Mediation assessment

Not everyone is at the same stage emotionally after separating, so not everyone will be ready to mediate. The mediator needs to find out whether it is suitable for both of you.

If you want to go to court, you will need to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (called a MIAM) with a mediator to find out about mediation and other non-court options. There are some exceptions to this.  The court will expect a certificate from the mediator or confirmation one of the exemptions applies before you start proceedings.

The mediator will speak to you briefly about the process to ensure you understand how it works. They will then contact your partner and have the same conversation with them.

What are the benefits of mediation?

The main benefits of mediation are:


  • It is for you and your former partner to decide what you would like to discuss at mediation.  You can focus on the matters that are important to you and your family, including those which may not otherwise be considered in court proceedings.
  • You and your former partner decide on how long there should be between mediation sessions and manage the pace at which mediation progresses. If you want to resolve matters quickly, this is possible – you don’t have to wait months for the next date as can happen in the court process. It also means that you can make sure that you have the time you need to collate your financial documents and information, and to think about any suggestions that have been made.

Better Communication

The mediator’s role is to help you both to point your views across in a constructive manner, and to encourage suggestions and alternative options focussing on the future and moving forward and avoiding the tendency to drag up details of what has occurred in the past. Decisions made during mediation are more likely to be stuck to as you have been involved in the decision-making process.


Successful mediation can be very cost effective, often being both cheaper and quicker than court proceedings. However, that is not the case for everyone and, if matters are not proceedings as hoped, the process can be brought to an end.

Next steps

Our mediator, Madeleine Harrington, qualified as a Solicitor in 2008 and has specialised in family law ever since. In 2022 she undertook the mediation training and has helped many separated couples reach outcomes which work for them and their families as they move onto the next phase of their lives. Madeleine is available for mediation at our Ryde office or can arrange mediation remotely over Microsoft Teams.

If you would like to contact Madeleine to discuss your mediation enquiry she can be contacted on 01983 562 201

How Can We Help?

Please call 01329 822 333 or send us a message

Our Clients Love What We Do

Very professional, courteous and supportive at all times.
Lisa Mountcastle

Lee on the Solent