During mediation an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you and your ex-partner work out an agreement about issues such as:
- arrangements for children after you break up (sometimes called residence or contact);
- child maintenance payments;
- finances (for example, what to do with your house, savings, pension, debts).
Many people find that mediation is quicker, less stressful and less expensive than going to court (and if you do want to go to court, the judge will usually ask you to consider mediation first). A mediator helps you and your ex-partner come to an agreement without being on anyone’s ‘side’, and it’s also possible to ensure that the views of children are heard too. You may find this video by Exeter University helpful if you want to know more about how participants can benefit from mediation.
Mediation is free for people who qualify for legal aid. A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is usually required before court, where it is safe to take place. Where at least one party is eligible, legal aid will cover the costs of both parties to attend the MIAM. The person making the application to court must arrange and attend the MIAM, which can take place separately or jointly with the other party.
However, there may be factors, such as domestic abuse, that mean mediation may not be appropriate.
- See if you qualify for legal aid.
- Find out more about mediation, including where your local mediators are.