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Do I have to attend mediation?

View profile for Lucy Phipps
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Do I have to attend mediation?

If you are intending to divorce, you do not need to attend mediation before you start the divorce proceedings.

However, if there are financial issues to resolve, or if you are not agreed about arrangements for your children, then you may need to attend mediation before a court will consider your application. 

You should consider taking advice from a solicitor first to understand all of the options available to you and also to understand what your rights are before you embark on mediation (and to consider other options, such as possible benefits of pursuing matters via the court or through arbitration).    

Being in possession of advice and information about the factors and considerations which are taken into account and the range of likely outcomes (and where your case falls in that range), before you go to mediation, is likely to make the process more successful and give you the confidence to seek the best outcome for you.

There are some exemptions to mediation, such as being the victim of domestic abuse or if there is some urgency to your application.   It is also sometimes the case that one person does not feel able to mediate with the other – perhaps because of their personality, or a lack of openness and transparency about their financial circumstances, and those may be valid reasons not to proceed. The latter are usually discussed with the mediator at an initial Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) at which the mediator will consider the suitability of your case.

You can talk to our specialist family lawyers to find out whether mediation is something you will need or want to consider as part of any wider decisions to separate or divorce.