What is family mediation?

Family mediation offers a method of resolving family disputes whilst avoiding the expense and acrimony of going to Court. In family mediation the mediator helps participants communicate in a non-confrontational setting, either in person or online, identifying the issues, concerns and generating possible options and agreement on matters relating to the separation of the family, including childcare arrangements, finances, and housing.

Is family mediation legally binding?

Nothing which is said during mediation is legally binding. Matters discussed as options during the process are regarded as being non-binding (or without prejudice) which means they can’t be used in Court. Once proposals are agreed they can then be summarised by the mediator and taken back to solicitors, if appropriate, to formalise the proposals. An application could then be made to Court to make the agreement legally binding if this was felt to be beneficial. The mediation process can be more collaborative, cheaper, and often more creative than using solicitors throughout.

Do you have to pay for family mediation?

There is a charge for mediation in the same way as there is a charge for most legal advice, but it is usually far more cost effective. If parties are eligible for Legal Aid Better Mediation are not able to help, but it is possible to appoint a CALM (Scotland) mediator who may be willing to undertake services at legal aid rates. Relationship Scotland are another option, they are a public service and specialise in child related issues only, there is a minimal cost.

What are the costs?

The fee for the intake meeting is £100.00 per person. Meetings take 45 minutes to 1 hour.

If Mediation, then proceeds the fee is £150.00 per person/per meeting.

Fees must be received at least 2 working days before the date of the meeting.

Meetings can be held online or in-person. For meetings held in person we charge an additional fee of £38.00 per hour. This would be held in our central Edinburgh office.

In the case of joint meditation meetings, the costs of the room hire is split equally between the clients.

Cancellation fees apply – details will be supplied on booking the first appointment.

Can I discuss the mediation process without charge, so I can make up my mind if I want to pay for an intake meeting?

Yes. We offer a free 15-minute call to outline the process to you. This call will give you the background you may need to decide to progress to an initial assessment or intake meeting. Please use the contact form and we will then reply with some suggested times for a call.

Does family mediation work?

Family mediation can be very effective and powerful in breaking deadlock and providing practical solutions and a variety of options in all the practical aspects of separation and divorce. For this to happen clients need to be able to contribute equally to the process, and be willing to work together, using the help of a trained and impartial, mediator, to find a resolution that best fits all involved.

Do I have to be married to access mediation?

No. Mediation can work for married and unmarried ex-partners wanting to resolve the issues emerging once a relationship has ended.

What happens if mediation doesn’t work?

If an agreement can’t be reached, then we’ll point you in the direction of sources of help and advise and explain the next steps open to you. This could include arbitration or negotiation between Solicitors as alternatives to a Court application.

Can I refuse family mediation?

Yes. Family mediation is an entirely voluntary procedure in Scotland. Individuals cannot be compelled to attend family mediation.

I live in Scotland but my ex is based in England – can mediation still help us?

Yes. Better Mediation deals with cases where one client lives in Scotland and the other lives in either England or Wales. If you wish to make a Court application in England or Wales, ( or to have your mediated settlement made legally binding by applying for a consent order) the intake meeting is called a MIAM ( Mediation Information & Assessment meeting) and is compulsory. In these instances, if mediation fails or isn’t deemed suitable, Better Mediation can issue a C100 form as dated evidence of your attendance at the MIAM. This is needed as part of your Court application.

Who can attend family mediation?

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Do I have to see/hear my ex if mediation is deemed suitable?

In some instances, although a dispute may be suitable for mediation, the clients do not feel able to see/hear each other during the process. In this instance ‘shuttle mediation’ may be offered. There is an additional charge for this process.

How to start family mediation?

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Is mediation confidential?

As mentioned above the initial intake meetings are confidential and the mediator will not discuss the content to the other party. Going forward confidentiality will be held unless the mediator has concerns about criminal activity or safeguarding which means they may need to conduct an external authority. This is fully explained by the mediator at the start of each meeting. A copy of our confidentiality policy is available on request.

Can mediation save a relationship?

Family mediation in Scotland is typically used to help separated individuals reach agreements regarding issues arising from their separation. It should be differentiated from couple counselling which may be considered in addressing issues within the relationship.

How long does family mediation typically take?

On average an ‘all issues’ mediation may take up to 4/5 sessions as finances, pensions, property and child arrangements are all considered. A mediation which concentrates on only child arrangements may take a shorter time. Parties individually attend their confidential intake meeting with the mediator. After that joint sessions will take place and the number of joint sessions will vary depending on the issues. You receive a short summary of the proposals after each session.