Family mediation services is a process in which an independent professional, who is trained to help people find their own solutions to family disputes, meets with you and the other parties in dispute to discuss your issues. You can use this service to sort out financial arrangements following separation or to work out custody and parenting time arrangements. A mediator can help you think through your options, decide what might work in practice and check that everyone understands the outcome of your discussions. The process can take a few hours or it may run over several sessions over a few days.
Mediation can be very helpful and is often quicker than going to court. It is also more cost effective. It is a voluntary and consensual process so you and the other party determine what outcome you want. The goal of the mediation is to reach a settlement that works for both of you. You can also agree to a formal memorandum of understanding which can then be used in a court case if necessary.
Some governments fund or financially assist the family mediation service so that you can access it free of charge. You can call the Family Relationship Advice Line or the Find Local Help search to find a government-funded service near you. You can also contact a private family mediator through the Family Dispute Resolution Register. Some mediators offer ‘child-inclusive’ mediation which means that a child consultant talks with your children during the sessions and relays their views back to you.