Family Mediation

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a voluntary process in which a trained, impartial third person (the mediator) meets with family members and helps them to communicate more effectively and to make their own arrangements for the future, particularly for their children.  Mediation can help to minimise conflict, improve family life and help to avoid long, painful and expensive legal battles.  Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance.

Who is it for?

It is for all sorts of families: married and unmarried, younger and older, with or without children. Grandparents, stepparents, children and young people can all be included.  It is primarily for parents whose relationship is over – it is not about helping parents to get back together again.

When can you come?

Mediation can be helpful once communication breaks down. This may be:

  • during, or some time after a relationship breakdown
  • as a result of families re-forming
  • when parents, stepparents, grandparents or young people identify there are communication and practical arrangements which need to be resolved.

How does it work?

Family members who are in conflict will be offered an individual, confidential meeting where information will be shared and options will be discussed. If mediation is appropriate, and your chosen option, a mediator will meet with those involved, usually around 3 or 4 times. Each participant will have the opportunity to talk about their concerns. The aim of mediation is to agree on practical, workable arrangements for the future, taking into account children’s views, needs and feelings.

What about the children?

The focus of family mediation is on putting children’s needs first.  Families can do this best by listening to them and trying to understand them.  Most of the local family mediation services also offer the option, if appropriate, of the mediator meeting individually with children to hear their views on the things that their parents have been discussing in mediation.  The mediator agrees with the child what they would like to have fed back in to the mediation process for their parents to hear.

How can it help?

Family mediation helps families to understand each other better and to plan for the future. It offers the service of mediators who help people to communicate, without taking sides. Mediators work with families without making decisions for them.

How much will it cost?

Child-focused mediation currently costs £120 per person. This is a one-off, flat fee which may be covered by legal aid if you are eligible.

Who are the mediators?

All Relationships Scotland mediators undertake professional training and the current course has been credit rated by Napier University at SCQF level 9. Topics include family law, the impact of separation on families, children’s needs, parenting apart, domestic abuse, child protection, conflict and power. The course takes up to 2 years to complete and includes co-mediation practice. Relationships Scotland mediators are assessed as competent through written and practical work.

Relationships Scotland mediators are required to undertake a minimum number of hours of casework per year. They are also required to participate in clinical supervision and on-going training (Continuing Professional Development) in order to remain on the Register of practising mediators within the network. Mediators work to the Relationships Scotland Code of Professional Conduct for Family Mediators and to a number to National and local policies including those relating to equality, safety and protection.

Mediation works well when people feel free to talk openly without being concerned that what is said will be used against them in court. If your family mediator is accredited for the purposes of the Civil Evidence (Family Mediation) (Scotland) Act 1995 this will ensure that what is said in mediation is not used as evidence in any civil court proceedings. Relationships Scotland is approved by the Lord President of the Court of Session as an organisation eligible to accredit mediators for the purposes of the Civil Evidence Act ensuring our mediators will not be asked to give evidence in civil court proceedings.

The video which is currently sitting on this page we will move to a new page which needs to be created under our services called ‘Intake’.  The video which should be on this page is called ‘Family Mediation in Action’.  I’m not sure where you are actually getting the videos from, if it is YouTube or from the RS website.  Also, when I played the ‘Family Mediation Explained’ video at the end when it ran out it then came up with other YouTube videos to select which I would rather not have.  I think it would be best if the video just ran out and stopped, which is another problem I had in that I couldn’t one of the other videos to stop playing.

Is it confidential?

Yes. Parents can talk freely and frankly in mediation. What occurs during family mediation cannot be used in civil proceedings unless both parties want it to be or if there are issues regarding children’s safety or criminal activities.

What about the courts?

Family mediation is available to help parents make arrangements without recourse to the legal process. However, if you go to court, even at that stage the sheriff can encourage you to attend a mediation service.