Family mediation

Barker Son & Isherwood LLP


Phone 01264 353411


There is no getting away from the fact that divorce is an extremely testing process for couples. It forces them to unpick the details of their joint lives and have difficult conversations about the terms on which they will each move on from the relationship.

The most challenging aspect of divorce for many people is the court process; preparing the formal documents, hearings before a judge, giving evidence and potentially having a resolution imposed. It is undoubtedly a process which works well in putting in place a timetable and ensuring cooperation and fairness but it takes time, it can be stressful, and it potentially places control of each party’s future in the court’s hands.

There is an alternative. Family mediation is a different way of sorting out differences between two people whose relationship has broken down. Led by a specially trained mediator, the parties meet face-to-face (or individually with the mediator, if face-to-face would be too difficult) to discuss settlement terms. The mediator guides each person through the things that need to be talked through and agreed and helps make sure that everything to do with a couple’s finances, property, assets, and children if required is covered in an agreement for the future. 

It’s not like being in court. It is less formal and there is more scope for conversation and negotiation. It can also bring about a resolution far more quickly and less expensively. However, it won’t suit all situations. For example, if there is intense acrimony between the parties, constructive discussions may be unattainable or where one party isn’t willing to cooperate. Mediation has to be something that each person agrees to take part in and with a degree of enthusiasm.  

Where mediation is suitable, however, it can help kick-start a better relationship between two people. By working together towards a resolution that will suit both, couples sometimes find that they build a new type of relationship, one that sees them communicating, understanding the other’s perspective and being able to get on – for the sake of their children, if nothing else.

A couple must show that they have at least considered mediation before embarking on divorce via the court system. This is testament to the fact that mediation is recognised as a valuable alternative and, in our experience, one that can be a far more constructive experience for those whose relationship has broken down.

To find out more about how mediation could work for you, contact one of our specialist solicitors on or 01264 353411. We would be delighted to help you.

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