Mediation accessibility for divorcing couples

7th March 2015 by


In family law, mediation is useful tool sometimes required by the courts. It can help spouses and their divorce solicitors reach agreement in a financial claim, and various matrimonial disputes, where other forms of negotiation have failed, or where a judge feels it may help reduce the potential time spent in court.

On 1 October 2011 the National Mediation Helpline (NMH) was replaced with the Ministry of Justice online mediation directory to provide a searchable directory of civil and commercial mediation providers.

The closure of the NMH was blamed on high running costs and low numbers of calls relevant to mediation subjects. To effectively use the online directory, those requiring mediation will be required to search the listings and choose a suitable mediator for their particular case.

All mediators listed in the directory will have Civil Mediation Council accreditation.

Mediation for divorcing couples
In mediation, the parties involved in the dispute agree to appoint a neutral third party who will attempt to help find a solution to the issues causing disagreement.

In family law this could be:

  • Agreeing who has residency with children of a relationship
  • Agreeing terms of contact with children
  • Agreeing a fair division of family property
  • Discussion of fair maintenance for children, perhaps agreeing items such as payment of school fees, and extracurricular activities

Mediation is very useful where couples have been unable to reach agreement, but is unlikely to be successful unless both parties genuinely want to reach an agreement. If one party has little incentive to commence the process, it is likely to fail.

Mediation and collaborative family law
Collaborative divorce differs from mediation in that all parties involved in a collaborative divorce, including the spouses and their respective divorce solicitors, work together to reach a solution to any disputes. The ultimate goal of collaborative divorce is to avoid the necessity for litigation from the outset.

In mediation, the parties to the divorce or their solicitors will appoint a neutral professional to assist in the discussions.

When in mediation, divorcing couples are always free to take advice from their family law lawyer and are not bound to reach agreement through the mediator.

Using the directory of mediators with Healys divorce solicitors
Of course any parties who are limited in their knowledge and use of the internet may be unable to readily access the online mediation directory, but here at Healys, we can help.

Healys is experienced in successfully negotiating and drafting separation agreements and in making and defending divorce and finance claims on behalf of both husbands and wives. However, when things cannot be resolved we have access to professional mediators who can help you reach agreement before a court is forced to rule on an order.

Our many years experience as specialist divorce solicitors and lawyers has taught us that each individual situation is different. Healys can help by listening sensitively and giving you straightforward legal advice so you can weigh up what options will work best for you.

When things are amicable we can help you keep it that way, but when things become contentious we strive to ensure your best interests are upheld at all times.

To speak to a family lawyer please call our Brighton office on 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to