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“Parents could face costs orders for clogging up Family Court*”

What could this mean for you?

It could mean that if you don’t try mediation before going to court to discuss child arrangements the judge could order you to pay the court costs.

What stops you trying mediation?

  •  Feeling that mediation is a soft option and not enforceable.
  • A belief the other person is controlling and won’t listen to you in mediation.
  • A feeling you need someone to tell the other person what to do.
  • Feelings of anger, hatred, betrayal that mean you don’t trust the other person and you don’t want to be in the same room with the other person.
  • A need to have something written down.
  • Wanting a Judge to make a decision.

What do I get from a Court I won’t get from mediation?

You could get an Order from a Judge. The Judge will make the decision for you both which you will each be required to comply with – even if you’re not happy with it.

You will also have experienced:

  • A number of court attendances before a Final Order is made. 
  • You will probably have paid a legal adviser a significant amount of money to advise you throughout the proceedings
  • Your children will probably have been interviewed by CAFCASS
  • Any effective communication between you as parents will probably be exclusively through your legal advisors.

What will mediation offer me?

  • A place to speak and be heard. As accredited mediators we are trained to manage the communication between you.
  • We can arrange shuttle mediation between you so that you don’t have to be in the same room as your ex.
  • You will only agree matters you both agree on, so neither of you can be forced into anything you don’t feel will work.
  • It keeps a line of communication open to you which is so important as parents
  • There may be underlying reasons why arrangements aren’t working and in mediation you can each talk about them and work together to make arrangements work for you all.
  • Something written down – a Parenting Plan if you would both like one.

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Costs of mediation vs costs of going to Court?

  • There is currently a £500 Government contribution towards mediation costs under the Voucher Scheme for parents to discuss child arrangements in mediation.
  • Legal Aid is also available in mediation for those who meet the financial threshold. FMC website for legal aid providers.
  • Costs of mediation are much cheaper than going to Court so that your family assets stay where they belong – with your family.

Mediation is not a silver bullet and will not be suitable in all cases but even when you think it’s not going to work it must be at least worth a try, and we will say when we think it’s not suitable.

  • It will allow you both to keep control of the decision making – which going to Court will not.
  • It will run at your pace.
  • It’s affordable.
  • Any agreement will be one you have made together which means it is like to be something you will both stick to.

*Law Society Gazette 8th November 2021



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