We believe Both Parents Matter

Too many children grow up knowing only one parent. This must change.

Join FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We work for the well-being of children in separated families to ensure they have meaningful relationships with both parents, wider family and friends.

Join FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We provide, and encourage the provision of:

guidance, support, education and assistance

Join FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We campaign to raise awareness and address the issues and challenges facing separated families

Join FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We promote and undertake research into the issues and challenges facing separated families

Join FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We emphasise that children need love and care from both parents and their wider families

Join FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

Too many children grow up knowing only one parent. This must change.

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We work for the well-being of children in separated families to ensure they have meaningful relationships with both parents, wider family and friends.

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We provide, and encourage the provision of:

guidance, support, education and assistance

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We campaign to raise awareness and address the issues and challenges facing separated families

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We promote and undertake research into the issues and challenges facing separated families

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

We believe Both Parents Matter

We emphasise that children need love and care from both parents and their wider families

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

 

Children Know That Both Parents Matter

Helping children and families to retain positive relationships after separation or divorce

Get HelpJoin FNFDonate

 

FNF is the leading UK charity supporting dads, mums and grandparents to have personal contact and

meaningful relationships with their children following parental separation since 1974.

We offer information, advice and support services helping parents to achieve a positive outcome for their children.

Our online Forum and our network branches also offer free guidance of solicitors and others familiar with the operation of the family courts.

Welcome to our new website. We hope you will enjoy the improved clarity, content, and the mobile-friendly responsive design.

There may be further improvements we could make, so we would greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

Thank you for your support.

 

 

Children Know That Both Parents Matter

 

Helping children and families to retain positive relationships after separation or divorce

FNF is the leading UK charity supporting dads, mums and grandparents to have personal contact and

meaningful relationships with their children following parental separation since 1974.

We offer information, advice and support services helping parents to achieve a positive outcome for their children.

Our online Forum and our network of branches also offer free guidance of solicitors and others familiar with the operation of the family courts.

Welcome to our new website. We hope you will enjoy the improved clarity, content, and the mobile-friendly responsive design.

There may be further improvements we could make, so we would greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

Thank you for your support.


Government offering £500 towards the cost of mediation - see our guidance on getting the most out of it

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched a voucher scheme which will provide a contribution of up to £500 towards the mediation costs for eligible cases, supporting people in resolving their family law disputes outside of court, where appropriate.

The family mediation voucher scheme is a time-limited scheme, designed to support parties who may be able to resolve their family law disputes outside of court. The Government has set up the scheme in response to Covid-19 to support a reduction of the backlog of cases in family courts and to encourage more people to consider mediation as a means of resolving their disputes, where appropriate. To support this, a financial contribution of up to £500 towards the costs of mediation will be provided, if eligible.

The voucher scheme is temporary 'whilst stocks last' - up to 2,000 cases. Whilst, it is intended to alleviate the strain on family courts, but if there is half a chance of coming to an agreement that way, this scheme will help. That said, be aware that different mediators charge different amounts and £500 may not buy you much mediation time, so do check what the fees are likely to be. If this scheme is successful it may provide an argument for the Government to introduce a similar ongoing scheme.

Only mediators authorised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) are taking part in the voucher scheme. You may qualify anyway for free mediation depending on yours or your ex's income. This scheme will provide some help to those who do not normally qualify.

Click here to find out if you are eligible for a mediation voucher and how to take part in the scheme.

 

 

Going to court is a sure way of a family disagreement escalating. Mediation may help to avoid this.

Family mediation is a process where a trained independent mediator helps you work out arrangements with another participant (e.g. an ex-partner) concerning children, finance or property. The mediator is there to help you work through disagreements and find solutions that work for you both and explain how to make the agreement you reach legally binding, should you wish to do so. When you make an application for a court order in relation to many types of family law disputes, you must show the court that you considered family mediation, by having attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM), unless you are exempt.

Mediation should play a more important role in the family justice system and is a popular method for parents to try and agree arrangements for their children without recourse to litigation.

It only takes one party to fail to negotiate reasonably for it to fail. In the heat of a disagreement, however, it is easy for each party to get stuck on good or less good points of principle and not see a way forward. Sometimes we need an outsider to help us to see the wood for the trees and help us to move forward. Mediation can do that. In most cases the family justice system expects this to be tried before accepting an application to court.  

If you are recently separated or only considering it you can use a mediator to help you sort out the myriad of problems that face you when deciding how the children will be cared for and how family finances are split. In most cases, the mum and dad take the initiative in arranging mediation. When preparing for mediation, consider the suggestions below. 

 

How to Make the Most of Mediation 

Before making an application to court it isn’t mandatory to try mediation, just to consider it, by making an appointment with an accredited family mediator for a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting).  A search for accredited family mediators is available through the Family Mediation Council

The MIAM interview will decide if you qualify for legal aid and if the differences between you and your ex can be resolved by mediation. The first issue to be discussed should be the care of the children, followed by financial arrangements. 

  • Consider keeping any big issue as far down the conflict ladder as possible.  You know your children best. Can you sort out arrangements between yourselves or with the help of a trusted friend or family member?  

  • Where possible, aim to separate finance and children issues. 

  • It helps to try mediation as early as possible in the process, before the exchange of solicitors’ letters or mention of court. 

  • If you take legal advice try not to listen to only what you want to hear.  It also helps to anticipate what likely advice would be given to the other parent. 

 

What happens if my ex wont turn up to the MIAMS? 

  • You will need to attend on your own. Your ex may attend separately. 

  •  If you are attending a sole MIAM (ie without the other parent) you can ask to have a friend or family member to accompany you. 

  • Advise the other parent to expect communication from the mediator.  

 

How do I prepare for the mediation with my ex? 

  • Make sure you have ‘authority to settle’ i.e. can you make decisions in mediation without having to check with someone else? 

  • Prepare emotionally for the session. How are you going to cope? What are the likely flashpoints? Discuss ‘time out’ arrangements during the session in advance.  To help you, think what advice you would give to a friend about how to handle the session? 

  • Prepare to negotiate.  Think about what you would like – now think about what you are prepared to settle for.  Are all your issues of equal weight? What can you offer? 

 

What will happen during my mediation? 

  • You may be dreading being in the room with the other parent but remember the dynamic can be very different with a professional in the room. 

  • Be creative, make suggestions and be prepared to listen.  

  • Try not to go back over the past or rehearse old arguments.   

  • Think about use of language: ‘our’ children, using the other parent’s first name. Be respectful of your child’s other parent.  These may appear obvious points but they can make a big difference. 

  • Quit when you’re ahead. Bag small agreements. 

  • Try a short-term arrangement initially and ‘road test’ any arrangements. 

  • Being the first to make a concession or an offer is not a weakness but supportive of the process. 

  • Not all mediation sessions are the same.   

  • The time between sessions, ‘thinking time’, can be very helpful to the process. 

  • If you have contact outside the mediation sessions it helps to avoid discussing what is happening in mediation. 

  • Don’t try to get the mediator on side.  Most mediators do not have contact with clients between mediation sessions.  All mediation takes place in the room. 

 

What happens after Mediation? 

  • You will produce a written agreement called a 'Memorandum of Understanding'.

  • Your agreement can be given legal effect if you feel this is necessary by submitting it to the Family Court for a Consent Order (Form C100).

  • Remember you can return to mediation at any stage. 

  • Arrangements will need reviewing and updating. How will this happen? Have you got arrangements in place to return to mediation if necessary? If possible agree that it only requires one of you to request a review for this to happen. 

  • Try not to put others off mediation.  Each case is unique. Your experience is not theirs. 

  • Even if mediation is not successful think about what has been gained. 

 

 

For further information:

Read our own Guidance article on Mediation

Contact National Family Mediation on www.nfm.org.uk, or the Family Mediators Association at www.thefma.co.uk.

From the Judiciary see Mediation Guide for Judges (May 2014)

Also see the Family Mediation Council where you can also search for accredited family mediators.

The Ministry of Justice has a mediator database which allows you to search for mediators by speciality (children, finance, etc.), and to filter searches to find those who can do legal aided work. This can be accessed here.

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