Family Mediation Week: divorce article banner image

In the third installment of our series of articles, we talk about the role of mediation when you and your partner are looking to divorce.


Does mediation enable us to avoid the court?

Not entirely, because you can only get divorced as part of a court process. However, you can certainly deal with financial arrangements and arrangements for children in mediation. You can then ask your solicitor to reflect your agreement in an order that is sent to the court for a judge to approve on paper, avoiding the need for you ever to actually attend a court hearing.

Should I see a lawyer before mediation, or after?

Ideally both: you are going to be discussing your financial future, so it makes sense to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can to find out where you stand and the likely outcome if a judge were to decide how to share finances. That will give you a clear idea of the sort of outcome you should aim to discuss at mediation, and the issues you need to talk about. Once you have reached an understanding in mediation you should then get advice to check whether it is fair, and whether you want to be bound by it

Can my lawyer be present during mediation?

No, but there is a process for reaching an agreement together with the lawyers known as collaborative law. It’s not a form of mediation, but it is similar in that it enables you to reach an agreement without going to court and in a way that helps to build up trust. It is something that only some lawyers with particular training can offer

What if my lawyer tells me that the outcome of mediation is not fair?

Lawyers are there to enable you to make informed choices. You can agree to an outcome that is unfair so long as you do so with your eyes open. However, if you choose to accept your lawyer’s advice then you are not bound by the mediation. Your lawyer should be able to advise on the best way of sorting things out from there, which may mean further mediation, discussions between lawyers or if all else fails an application to the court.

Will mediation be less expensive?

It can certainly cost less than going to court. The real question is whether it is value for money. It’s not usually free (unless you qualify financially for Legal Aid), so it’s only worthwhile if it’s going somewhere. If it’s clear that you are never going to reach an agreement, stop paying for it and think again.  If it is working, listen to your lawyer: even if you could get a slightly better outcome in court, you need to factor in the stress, cost, risk and delay that might entail before coming to a decision about whether or not to continue.

To contact, please call 01872 265100, or email