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During mediation, a trained and independent mediator helps you and your child’s other parent or carer to work out an agreement about issues such as:  

  • arrangements for your child after you separate – such as where the child will live and how much time they will spend with each parent;  
  • child maintenance payments; 
  • finances (for example, what to do with your house, savings, pensions, and debts); and  
  • any temporary arrangements that can be looked at again if or when circumstances change.  

Many people find that mediation is less stressful, less time-consuming, and much less expensive than going through the family court. It is for these reasons that in most cases, the court will expect you to consider mediation seriously before going to court. A mediator helps you and your child’s other parent or carer without taking anyone’s ‘side’.  

Mediation is free for people who qualify for legal aid. You can see if you qualify by visiting You can also search for mediators that offer online services on the Family Mediation Council website.  

When it is safe to take place (in most cases where domestic abuse is not alleged or a feature of your relationship) a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is usually required before you can go to a family court. Your wellbeing and safety are always considered carefully before any meeting. Where at least one party is eligible, legal aid will cover the costs to attend the MIAM.  

Many mediators normally offer a service for the child to be heard and included in mediation. Some mediation services offer ‘Child Inclusive Mediation’ by video link. You can talk this through with your mediator who will advise you whether either of these options are possible and advisable.  

Family Mediation Voucher Scheme  

The family mediation voucher scheme is a time-limited scheme designed to support people who may be able to resolve their disagreements or disputes outside of the court process.  

Guidance on how you can find out if you are eligible for the family mediation voucher scheme and how to apply is available on  

More information about mediation