Fast facts: mediation

What is mediation?

Question mark buttonMediation is a method of resolving issues which may arise on the breakdown of a relationship. It is a process that provides an alternative to going to court. Family mediation is increasingly used to resolve a myriad of family problems, such as disputes between a parent and child or contact with grandchildren, in addition to financial disagreements.

How does it work?

The process involves both parties explaining their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified family mediator in a safe, neutral environment. The mediator is impartial, which means that they cannot give advice, only provide information. They are there to facilitate a settlement by assisting both parties.

The mediator does not make decisions or impose a settlement. The mediator will help the parties work through options and reality check their proposals. A mediator will ensure that there is not a power imbalance in the negotiations.

What are the benefits?

  • The parties have the opportunity to improve their communication and chances of long-term cooperation which is essential where there are children.
  • The mediator controls the process and the parties retain control of the decisions made.
  • Generally more cost-effective and quicker than going to court.
  • A flexible process that can be used to settle a variety of disputes.
  • Can help to reduce tension, anger and misunderstanding between disputing parties.
  • Can be used whether or not the parties have seen a solicitor and proceedings have begun.

Is mediation confidential?

The mediator will not pass information on unless the parties agree. However, if it appears that someone has been seriously hurt, or is at risk, the mediator may alert the police or social services.

What is said in mediation cannot be used in court later if mediation breaks down. This does not apply to factual information given during the mediation process, such as
details of income and property. However it would cover negotiations and offers of settlement.

Any understanding reached through mediation is usually written down and signed by both parties and the mediator. This memorandum of understanding is not legally binding and cannot be enforced in court unless the parties decide to make it a legal contract or court order.

Each party has the freedom to find another way of dealing with the dispute at any time, and mediation does not generally remove the need for legal advice.

How long does it take?

Mediation takes on average between 4 and 6 sessions, each lasting about an hour and a half. However the pace will be determined by the couple who are in mediation.

The Lester Aldridge family team deal with these and other issues on a regular basis.

lester-aldridge-logoIf you would like to discuss any aspect of divorce, separation, arrangements for your children or wish to protect your assets prior to getting married, contact the family team on 01202 786161 or email

Lester Aldridge LLP

About Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP is a nationally recognised law firm with offices in London, Bournemouth and Southampton. The family team are leaders in their field. Jane, Jo and Rosie are specialist family solicitors with a wealth of experience in all areas of family law from divorce to children, prenuptial agreements to the settlement of financial disputes and everything in between. These women are feisty when they need to be. But their approach is designed to reduce conflict in order to ensure the best possible outcome. They recognise that family issues can be extremely emotional and they offer access to specialist advice delivered in a friendly, approachable and understandable way designed to guide you from start to finish. If you would like an informal, no-obligation chat with Jane, Jo or Rosie please telephone 03300 539754.

  • kris

    What if only you are interested in mediation? We grandparents have been denied seeing our grandchildren for years. Our daughter in law decided ‘she didn’t like what I say’ and our son stopped calling with the little ones, under 5yrs at the time. We have just received a surprise letter from the 14 yr old asking to meet us, we agreed a time and place suggested by her, only for her later, to say not now, i’m not sure. What do I do now?

  • Dear Kris
    I am sorry to hear about your situation. There are various routes available to you if you wish to try to restart your relationship with your grandchildren each with their own benefits and risks. I would be happy to discuss these with you so that you can make an informed decision as to how you would like to proceed. Please contact for further assistance.

  • kris

    Thank you for your reply.