Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation can help couples reach an amicable resolution without going to court.

More about Divorce Mediation

Forbes Solicitors has a team of experience divorce mediation lawyers who provide professional and supportive guidance throughout the process.

What is Divorce Mediation?

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps divorcing couples to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on a range of issues, including property division, child arrangements, and support payments. Mediation can be a less adversarial and more cost-effective way of resolving divorce-related disputes compared to going to court.

Only divorce cases involving child-protection issues or domestic violence go straight to court, with all others obliged to see if their case can be resolved by mediation before going to court. Mediation is a non-adversarial way for divorcing couples (or those dissolving their civil partnerships) to settle matters involving finances, property and children out of court, although it is advisable for you and your spouse to seek independent legal advice at the same time. This is because the mediator remains neutral and cannot give legal advice.

Rather than dictating how you should settle everything, a mediator is more like an impartial facilitator for your discussions, helping you identify and resolve problems while not taking sides. They can, however, give you advice about the law, make sure you are informed of your options and ensure that anything you decide is within the parameters of what's legally allowed.

Benefits of Mediation

Benefits of Mediation

Mediation can be a lot quicker and less costly than going to court, it also has the benefit of giving you and your spouse control in how your divorce is settled - you are deciding what to do rather than being told what to do. Since you and your spouse are directly involved in the discussions, you both know that the settlement you end up making is one you and your family can live with. If you can be open and honest with each other, this is much more empowering than having a third party make the decisions on your behalf.

Mediation can also help take some of the anger and tension out of divorce proceedings, particularly those misunderstandings caused by miscommunication. Although you and your partner, depending on the reasons for your divorce, may be angry with each other, you need to be able to communicate with each other to come up with a fair settlement - particularly where children are concerned.

Legal Advice during Mediation

Legal Advice during Mediation

It is still advisable though to have legal advice from a solicitor, who will be able to advise you on aspects such as:

  • The things you need to consider when going into mediation

  • Whether or not the financial proposals put forward will work

  • What financial information is necessary

  • The component parts of your divorce settlement you should have thought about.

  • Whether or not the suggested practical arrangements will work in practice

  • Whether the courts might disagree Whether or not the proposals are fair to you and your family.

While the mediator will be able to give you information on the above points (such as what the court can and can't make certain orders on), they cannot advise you in the way that an expert family law and divorce solicitor can.

Divorce Mediation FAQs

How does divorce mediation work?

Divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps a couple reach an agreement on issues related to their divorce, such as child arrangements, property division, and spousal support. The mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties, but does not make decisions for them. If an agreement is reached, it is then presented to the court for approval. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and can be less expensive and time-consuming than going to court.

What are the benefits of divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation can save time and money compared to going to court. It can also help couples maintain control over the outcome of their divorce and improve communication between them. Mediation can also be less stressful and more amicable than a court battle. Mediation is encouraged by the courts as a way to resolve disputes and is often a requirement before a divorce case can proceed to court.

Is divorce mediation legally binding?

Divorce mediation can be legally binding. If both parties agree to the terms reached during mediation, they can be recorded in a legally binding document called a Memorandum of Understanding. This can then be submitted to the court as part of the divorce proceedings. However, it is important to note that if either party changes their mind or refuses to comply with the agreement, the court can still make a final decision on the terms of the divorce.

How long does divorce mediation take?

The length of divorce mediation can vary depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the willingness of both parties to reach an agreement. However, on average, divorce mediation can take between 3 to 6 sessions, each lasting around 1-2 hours.

Can I still use a lawyer during divorce mediation?

Yes, you can still use a lawyer during divorce mediation. While mediation is designed to help couples reach an agreement without the need for court intervention, it is still advisable to seek legal advice from a solicitor to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Your lawyer can also provide guidance and support throughout the mediation process.

What happens if we can't reach an agreement during divorce mediation?

If an agreement cannot be reached during divorce mediation, the case may proceed to court. The court will then make a decision on the issues that were not resolved during mediation, such as division of assets, child arrangements, and support. It is important to note that mediation is often successful in resolving disputes, and going to court should be seen as a last resort.

Is divorce mediation suitable for high-conflict divorces?

Divorce mediation may not be suitable for high-conflict divorces as it requires both parties to be willing to negotiate and compromise. If there is a history of domestic abuse or one party is unwilling to participate in mediation, it may not be appropriate. In such cases, alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or court proceedings may be necessary.

Can divorce mediation be used for child arrangement and support issues?

Yes, divorce mediation can be used for child arrangement and support issues. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps the parties involved in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. In the case of divorce, mediation can be used to resolve issues related to child arrangements and support. It is often encouraged by the courts as a way to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.

Our dedicated Family/Divorce team

Jessie McDonald.jpg

Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Rubina Vohra


Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Helen Shirbon


Partner, Family/Divorce

Gill Carr

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