Family mediation solicitors
We can offer you the full range of family mediation services, helping to minimise costs and ease the transition of a breakdown in your relationship.
Alternative dispute resolution for families
If you find yourself in the unfortunate event of a breakdown in your relationship, sometimes mediation, collaboration or arbitration can be a more appropriate course to take.
Our family law solicitors are experienced in advising families on these alternative methods of dispute resolution, particularly where children are involved. We have Law Society accredited family mediators, who are also members of CALM Scotland.
As well as trained mediators, we are experienced family law solicitors who can, therefore, inform the mediation process with the legal framework and rules when we are assisting mediating couples to find a way forward. We can offer fixed fee mediation packages, which can be divided between parties, and which can be tailored to the needs and concerns of the families involved.
We would be happy to discuss any referral for mediation sessions from solicitors or indeed, directly from individuals who consider that mediation would be helpful in their circumstances.
Members of our family law team are accredited by the Law Society of Scotland.
Common questions about family mediation
What is family mediation?
Mediation is a process by which parties involved in family law disputes try to reach an agreement and/or reach an improved level of understanding of the other party’s views in respect of issues or problems, with the help of trained, impartial, family mediators.
In a family law setting, this involves the parties working with each other and the mediator, during a series of meetings called mediation sessions. The process is entirely voluntary. It is also confidential.
Typically, ‘family mediation‘ (i.e mediation in the context of separation and divorce), will focus on resolving financial issues and property disputes as well as issues concerning child arrangements. However, one of the key principles of mediation is flexibility – the process can focus on whatever issues or concerns are important to those involved.
What are the benefits of family mediation?
The significant benefit to using mediation is that it can improve communication and allow for constructive dialogue. It provides a ‘safe space’ in a neutral setting for parties to directly engage in the issues which matter to them.
Quite often, there can be a considerable amount of cross-over between the parties in terms of what matters to them, particularly around children. This can easily be lost or forgotten about using more traditional (and, arguably, confrontational) methods of dispute resolution.
How to start family mediation?
Both individuals who wish to mediate should contact the family mediator that they wish to appoint. The mediator will then send out initial paperwork and organise an introductory meeting. The intake meetings allow the mediator to ingather initial information and assess a situation’s suitability for mediation.
How to deal with family disputes?
In Scotland, there are various ways to address family disputes away from family court. These include negotiation between solicitors, family mediation sessions, collaborative practice and arbitration. Each has their own benefits.
What is family dispute resolution?
Family dispute resolution or alternative dispute resolution usually refers to the various methods to address family disputes avoiding the expense and acrimony that family court proceedings can bring. The main methods, which focus on reaching a resolution to a dispute without going to court are:
- Negotiation: where parties or their solicitors deal directly with each other;
- Family mediation: where a trained, impartial, family mediator helps participants communicate in a non-confrontational setting, identifying the issues, concerns and generating possible options;
- Collaboration: parties and solicitors commit, via a participation agreement not to litigate using their current solicitors, and discussions progress by way of meetings. Input from ‘third party’ neutral individuals in the form of financial information and family therapy can provide additional support to the process;
- Arbitration: A specially trained lawyer / arbitrator makes the decision on the dispute, with the decisions as binding on parties as that of a court. It can offer a quick resolution on many family law issues.
Is family mediation legally binding?
Family mediation is conducted on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. Nothing which is said during mediation is legally binding. The hope is that those going through the process can work towards reaching the basis of an agreement which can then be taken back to solicitors, if appropriate, to formalise matters. In most cases, this prevents the need to go to court, saving you time and avoiding additional solicitor fees.
Do you have to pay for family mediation?
In Scotland, mediation can be paid for privately by the individuals involved, using the services of a CALM (Scotland) mediator. If parties are eligible for legal aid, it is also possible to appoint CALM (Scotland) local mediators if they are willing to undertake services at legal aid rates. It is also possible to access family mediation in respect of child related matters with Relationship Scotland, in respect of which there is no or a relatively minimal cost.
Is family mediation compulsory?
Family mediation is not compulsory in Scotland.
Does family mediation work?
Family mediation has good prospects of success if both parties are willing to work together, using the help of a trained, impartial, family mediator, to find a resolution.
If you require legal support with a family matter and you would like to reduce conflict, contact one of our specialists to arrange the initial meeting.
Can I refuse family mediation?
Family mediation is an entirely voluntary procedure in Scotland. Individuals cannot be compelled to attend family mediation.
Who can attend family mediation?
Mediation is suitable for most sorts of family disputes. Where there are issues with domestic abuse or if individuals are not willing or able on any level to work together then it may be that family mediation will not be suitable. The trained mediator will be able to consider the situation during the intake meeting and identify whether a case is suitable for mediation.
How long does family mediation typically take?
There is no typical family mediation length. Parties individually attend an intake meeting with the mediator. Thereafter, joint mediation sessions will take place and the number of joint sessions will vary depending on the issues.
Can mediation save a marriage?
Family mediation in Scotland is typically used to help separated individuals reach agreements regarding issues arising from their separation. It should be differentiated from couple counselling which couples (prior to separation) may consider to address issues in their marriage.
What is a family dispute?
A family dispute can really refer to any dispute or disagreement amongst family members. In the context of family mediation, it is common to see former couples appoint a trained mediator to support parties in addressing financial or child related issues often arising from separation and with a view to assisting them reach an agreement without the need for a court hearing.
If you have any questions or require mediation advice, our family team is here to help. We understand that every family is unique, and we can provide guidance on how to navigate various disputes with sensitivity and care.
Harper Macleod is a full-service law firm with offices throughout Scotland. Contact us today to speak with an experienced family solicitor for advice and representation.
“I was resistant at first to sharing feelings with Karen and her colleague Amanda but by the end of the sessions I felt a weight lifted and was very satisfied with the financial outcome. Thanks.”
“Everything was handled with great empathy and care which made a stressful situation easier all round.”
“The team is connected. Whoever you speak with knows your situation and seems to understand your specific needs. My experience throughout a difficult period in my life has been one of empathy, compassion, understanding and support.”
“This is a strong and innovative family law team. They have been proactive in exploring developments in family law, for example through their “Modern Families” initiative.”
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