You can consider mediation at any time. We work with parents who want to try mediation before considering court proceedings, as well as with parents whose court cases have already started.
Yes, you do not only get one shot at mediation. If your situation has changed, or you have a new dispute to resolve, you can come back to mediation again.
Nobody can be forced to attend mediation, but it may be recommended or suggested as an alternative to the court process.
A member of our team can speak with parents who may at first be sceptical or unsure about how mediation may be able to help. However, it is important to remember that mediation is a voluntary process and no one can be forced to mediate.
Once you contact us, we will take in to consideration any court timetable or other constraints and work as quickly as possible to confirm a date for you. When mediation is required very quickly it should be possible to complete the screening interviews on the same day we receive the referral and for the mediation to take place within 48 hours.
Many mediations are covered by legal aid funding, but if you are not eligible then we will discuss with you whether or not there will be any cost.
Many mediations are are undertaken remotely by Skype or other internet platform so there is no need for a parent to travel. The mediator conducting the screening interview will discuss this with you.
It is very important that you feel safe before, during and after mediation. Our mediators are sensitive to the different dynamics within relationships and are alert issues of domestic abuse and power imbalances when deciding if a case is suitable or not for mediation. In cases where there is a history of domestic violence, mediation can still be very effective and our mediators follow strict safety procedures to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
It is also possible to mediate by Skype or other internet platforms so that parents don’t need to be in the same place for the mediation sessions.
Entering into mediation will not necessarily impact any ongoing or future court proceedings. Mediation runs alongside the court process, does not prejudice any proceedings and shouldn’t cause any delays. If you try mediation but are not able to come to an agreement, you are able to return to the court for the judge to make the decisions.
The only time mediation will impact court proceedings is when an agreement is reached, a Memorandum of Understanding has been written and has been presented to the court to be registered as a consent order.
How quickly you can register a Memorandum of Understanding will depend on the country or countries involved. In England and Wales this is a relatively quick process and you can get help from solicitors if needed. The timescale will vary in other countries so we recommend speaking with a specialist lawyer for advice when registering an agreement, especially if you need to register the order in more than one country.
If you are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, or your case is not accepted for mediation, you can ask a judge to decide on any issues. Even in cases where parents have been unable to reach agreements, the experience of mediation can significantly improve communication and has in some cases eased some of the tension of later court proceedings.