Mediation Services

Braintree Enterprise centre
46 Springwood Drive

Tel: 0203 514 8972
Fax: 0203 514 8943


Mediation is a voluntary process, which means no one can force either party to use mediation. During Mediation the use of an impartial person or persons is used (a Mediator) to guide couples in reaching decisions on various matters including separation and divorce and helps those involved in a disagreement or dispute to work towards an agreement that is acceptable to everyone involved. Mediation can help rebuild relationships and communication between the parties by focusing on the best interests of and children and the parties involved. It provides an alternative to Court proceedings.

Mediation can deal with civil disputes including neighbouring disputes, contractual disputes and any agreements and arrangements made unofficially without the courts that you want to be able to resolve so that the arrangement is made official and reasonable for all parties to keep to but can also be enforceable through the courts as your added security to the arrangement. Mediation can also be arranged in situations relating to separation, divorce, children, property and finance. The benefits of mediation are felt to be that mediation promotes better communication and co-operation between couples; allows the parties involved to control the decisions affecting their lives; helps children by reducing conflict; is confidential and is generally a quicker and more cost effective process than Court proceedings.

Mediation is available for everyone.


A mediator is a trained, independent, neutral third party who will:

● Work with service providers and families to resolve disputes;
● help communication and encourage mutual understanding;
● help parties reach the outcomes or agreements themselves;
● establish a basis for effective parent, professional partnerships.

A mediator does not:

● make decisions or recommend solutions;
● is bias towards either party.


Mediation can open communication and help the parties involved look at the issues, explore options and come to a workable solution. This promotes good relationships and encourages the parties to participate in decisions about their future and the future of any children. It is also much easier to resolve problems and avoid new ones by talking things through as early as possible.


During a mediation session, the mediator will make sure each person gets an opportunity to talk about their concerns and is listened to. Past, current and future plans will be discussed, but the goal will be to reach agreement on the most appropriate plan or outcome for your child and your needs.


Mediation is usually undertaken in a neutral venue. It must be easy to get to for everyone who needs to attend.


You need to openly discuss the issues concerning your divorce, finances and children by sharing any information you think is important and relevant. You must also be prepared to listen to the views of the other people involved. Remember that you can bring a supporter (they are their simply to support you not to speak on your behalf) or advocate with you.


Mediation on separation or divorce is undertaken under a specific code of practice usually by a sole mediator but where appropriate with a co-mediator who may be a professional such as a solicitor with experience in marital and family work.

In either event this provides a supportive professional forum in which a couple can be helped to deal with all issues arising on separation or divorce including for example the practicalities of separation; divorce; arrangements for children; housing, property and capital adjustments; maintenance and any other issues which either party may raise.

Mediation is generally undertaken with the couple together. Exceptionally (and by agreement with both parties) separate discussions can be held with each party and then the matters discussed brought back into the joint sessions. When working in this way separate confidences are not maintained as between the couples.

In all cases parties will not be required to reach any complete and binding agreements in the mediation without having had the opportunity to review matters with their own solicitors. Summaries of the financial information and of the settlement proposals will be furnished to the parties for this purpose as required.

Mediation sessions generally last one and a half hours each. The number of sessions will depend on the issues; 5 or 6 sessions are not uncommon but more or less may be needed. They may take place at approximately fortnightly intervals or as otherwise agreed. Parties do not need to commit themselves for a fixed number of sessions but can decide at the end of each session if they wish to continue.

Before mediation commences each party will be required to enter into an Agreement to Mediate which will include within the terms and conditions that all matters in mediation will be treated as confidential (unless a child or other person is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm) and that both parties undertake to provide a complete and accurate statement of their financial circumstances.


A referral can be made direct to a mediation service by a prospective client or clients. Alternatively, a referral can be made via Solicitors.

As a result of a Court protocol, from 6 April 2011, for financial and children cases, if a person (Applicant) is considering applying for a Family Order against another party (Respondent) there has to be a referral to a Mediator. If the proposed Applicant and/or Respondent are eligible for Legal Aid there will be no charge for the meeting. If either the proposed Applicant or the Respondent is not eligible, then there will be a charge made by the Mediation Service, which is set by each individual Mediation Service. These meetings are known as Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings, or a MIAM.

There are a number of Mediation Services operating in the Essex and London areas. Not all local Mediation Services have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to offer Legal Aid for mediation.


For the first meeting, there will be a choice between meeting with the mediator separately or having a joint meeting with the other party. The Mediator will discuss whether you and the other party are willing and able to meet and negotiate; the issues involved and whether they are suitable for negotiation; whether both of you would feel safe if mediation took place; that both of you feel that the mediator will ensure a safe forum for you; and that there is confidence in each other’s ability to keep to an agreement.

During the mediation process it is advised that both you and the other party have the benefit of independent legal advice. If you are eligible for Legal Aid in the mediation process then you will be eligible for free legal advice from a solicitor to advise you and assist you during the process and to finalise any agreement reached in mediation. A mediation agreement is not subject to the Legal Aid Agency’s Statutory Charge where the Legal Aid Agency would require that legal costs and disbursements be met from any money or property recovered, acquired or preserved.

If and when an agreement is reached, this will be summarised by the mediator in a document usually called a Memorandum of Understanding or a Summary of Financial Proposals which may not be disclosed to a Court. However, the financial information disclosed during the mediation and attached to the Memorandum of Understanding/Summary of Proposals is disclosable. Please note, the Memorandum of Understanding or Summary of Financial Proposals may be used by the legal advisors to prepare a consent application to be put before the Court for the Court’s approval. Any agreement reached in mediation is not final and binding. Separate legal advice will have to be obtained by each party as to how any agreement reached in mediation may be ratified and formalised.