Alternatives to court - mediation

The majority of disputes … are capable of consensual settlement… all cases which can be settled should be settled.

Lord Wilson SCJ
Family Law Services at Penningtons Manches Cooper banner

Our expert mediators provide our clients with an unparalleled service in an empathetic, professional and cost-effective way.

Family mediation puts you in control, with dedicated guidance from an independent, impartial and professionally trained mediator. An expert mediator can help you find solutions for the division of finances following separation, arrangements for children, or one specific issue that you need to agree such as where your child goes to school. All our mediators are highly experienced family lawyers who will guide you to reach an agreement which can be converted into a binding, enforceable consent order. It is this background knowledge, combined with our tailored, outcomes focused approach, that helps us give the best possible support to our clients.

Our mediators begin by inviting you individually to a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to consider if mediation is suitable for you. The mediator will spend time establishing your goals and explaining how mediation works.  

Often, each client has a solicitor who advises them on an individual basis in the background. This means you can seek advice from your own solicitor, separately from the joint mediation sessions which you have with your former partner. It will allow you to benefit from the momentum of joint mediation sessions at the same time as receiving bespoke legal advice to give you confidence as you work through to a final agreement.  

If you are already committed to a mediator but need tailored background legal advice, we are very happy to provide this. Our knowledge as expert mediators will enable us to support the process effectively whilst ensuring that you fully understand the legal implications of what you are agreeing in mediation. 

In mediation sessions, you will meet together with one of our mediators who will guide you in beginning constructive discussions, to help break any impasse and find practical solutions. We can include your solicitors or other professional advisors in these meetings if you both agree, or there can be a shuttle situation in which the mediator spends time with each of you on your own exploring the issues and shuttles between you. We also offer hybrid mediation which enables you to speak privately to the mediator and for the mediator to keep the conversation confidential if that will assist you. Mediation is generally a faster route to reaching an agreement with many cases resolved in three to five sessions. 

Following a successful mediation about finances, the mediator will record the outcome in a document called a memorandum of understanding. The memorandum is then taken to your respective solicitors to convert into a ‘consent order’ (a document which sets out in legal language the terms of the agreement reached) which is sent to the court for approval. A consent order is necessary to make the agreement legally binding. It ensures that you have the benefit of a legally enforceable order in the same way as you would have done had the court process been followed.

At the conclusion of a successful mediation about arrangements for children, a parenting plan may be drawn up.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP