Family Mediation

Mediation can be a cost effective and quick way to resolve a family disputes or breakdown.   Hopefully any questions you have about this way of resolving issues arising from your divorce or separation are dealt with in our frequently asked questions section below.  However, if there is anything not dealt with below, then one of our team would be happy to help.

The family team are ranked in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500:

Compact and experienced team which regularly acts for high net worth individuals across the South West, including cases with international elements. Highly thought of for its work on financial remedy matters together with related tax and pension issues. Also handles private law children matters, including child and parental alienation cases, and offers advice on cohabitation disputes.
Chambers & Partners 2020

Rebecca Silcock heads the practice and has experience in the legal ramifications of divorce and relationship breakdown on financial matters ranging from family trusts and inherited wealth to commercial ventures and family businesses.
Legal 500 2020

Next steps

If you require our mediation services, please get in touch with our family team for a no obligations conversation, or alternatively make an appointment to meet with a member of our team. You can speak to us on 0800 533 5349 or reach us on email at

Please be aware, we do not have a certificate to take on publicly funded (Legal Aid) mediation.  As such we are only able to take enquiries for privately funded Mediation. 

Frequently asked questions

Mediation is a way to try and resolve any issue you may have as a result of your relationship breaking down.  It involves you and your partner both meeting with a trained mediator to work through any issues you haven’t or aren’t able to resolve together. 

There are various principles to Mediation which are:

  • Impartiality – the mediator is a neutral party who does not take sides.  The mediator is simply there to provide a safe environment for discussions to take place; and to both manage those discussions and assist you to work through them and find mutually acceptable solutions;
  • Confidentiality – everything within the mediation process is confidential with two exceptions.  The first is financial disclosure of assets and factual information about assets and the second is if the Mediator has any concerns about either person or a child’s safety;
  • Voluntary – the mediation process is a voluntary one therefore if at any stage you do not feel comfortable continuing with it there is no obligation for you to do so;
  • Without Prejudice – the discussions which take place within the mediation process are ‘without prejudice’ this means that any discussions cannot be later used against you should mediation break down. 

New Court rules came into force in April 2014 which stated that before any application is initiated in relation to finances or children there is a requirement to attend Mediation (although noting it is a voluntary process as above) and that the Mediator sign your court forms confirming you have attended. 

There are some limited exemptions to you having to attend Mediation first which include, for example the application being urgent due to risks posed to you or a child, or there being incidents of domestic violence. 

If you do not fall into one of the few exemptions but do not feel comfortable attending mediation then you may wish to attend an initial meeting with the mediator so that they can discuss why this is the case and if there is anything the mediator can do to make the process work for you.   

One of the most important aspects of the mediators role is to be impartial and neutral.  As such the Mediator can only provide information but not advice.  If your questions are asking for opinion or advice on what you should do then the Mediator will need to refer you to obtain independent legal advice from a solicitor.  Sometimes people have their own solicitors whilst in the mediation process so that they can take advice between mediation sessions about what was discussed.

Face to face meetings are almost always better if you can manage it as Mediation is your process for you to make proposals together.  It is also likely to save time if you are able to meet together to discuss matters.  

If you do have concerns about meeting in the same room then the Mediator will need to discuss this further with you and whether there is any reason mediation is not a suitable option.  The mediator will discuss all possible options at the first meeting you have on your own with the mediator and which may be most suitable.  If mediation is the best route it is still possible to have sequential or shuttle mediation.  The former involves you both meeting on separate days with the mediator.  Shuttle mediation is where you both meet at the same time and place but are in two separate rooms and the mediator moves between you.  

Family mediation can be a forum to discuss all types of issues.  It is certainly possible to deal with many different aspects arising from a relationship breakdown.  The mediator will discuss with each of you what you would like to prioritise in each of the sessions.

We charge £120 per person per hour plus VAT for meetings and preparing any paperwork for you if you reach a set of proposals and wish for these to be put in writing. 

Bar you and your partner sitting around the kitchen table yourselves to reach an agreement, Family Mediation is often seen as the most cost effective way that people can resolve issues arising from a relationship breakdown.  

If you reach a set of proposals at mediation that are acceptable to both of you then the mediator will prepare a memorandum of understanding recording the content of your discussions.  As noted above, the memorandum will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and the content cannot be shown to third parties or used against you moving forwards.  You are each able to show this to your legal advisors who would then formalise these arrangements into a binding document (if in relation to financial matters).

If you are unable to resolve your matter through mediation then the mediator will sign a form confirming this.  It is then up to each party to decide how they would like to move forward and what other options they have open to them to resolve the issue.  This is something they will need to take independent legal advice on.

If your partner does not want to attend Mediation then the mediator will confirm this to you and, if necessary sign a form which will enable you to make an application to Court for an Order.

Unfortunately the answer to this is how long is a piece of string?!

To give a general idea, most people find that between 3 – 5 sessions are required.  However each couple’s issues will be different and the number of family mediation sessions can be tailored to meet the needs of each particular couple.

One of the mediators roles is to provide a safe environment for discussion and to ensure that each party is on a level playing field.  The mediator needs to manage the process to ensure that this continues throughout.  For example we would always go at the pace of the person who needs more time to consider things.  If the mediator feels that the individual may benefit from other professional advice be that a solicitor, financial advisor etc then they will make suggestions in order to try and assist both parties get the most out of the mediation process.

If you are interested in how Mediation may benefit your family please contact us on 01225 750000, alternatively if you wish to refer someone please contact us.

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Meet the team

Rebecca Silcock
Rebecca Silcock
Partner and Head of Department
Victoria Cobham (née Strode)
Victoria Cobham (née Strode)
Associate Solicitor
Simon Walker
Simon Walker
Associate Solicitor
Elizabeth Dowler
Elizabeth Dowler
Laura Somoza
Laura Somoza
Paralegal ACILEx

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