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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Relationship breakdown: family mediation

Family mediation is a way of solving disagreements after your relationship has broken down, without involving lawyers or the courts. Find out how mediation works, how it can help you, and how to find mediation services.

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Why use mediation?

In many cases, mediation is a better way of sorting out family disputes than going to court. Court proceedings can be long, expensive and very stressful. Mediation can also improve communication between family members and reduce conflict.

How does mediation work?

Find mediation services in your area by calling the Family Mediation Helpline on 0845 60 26 627

In mediation, family members explain their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a mediator. The mediator helps them to reach an agreement without taking sides.

All information revealed during the mediation process is private, unless the welfare of a child is at risk. In these cases, information can be passed on to the authorities to protect the child.

Who are family mediators?

Family mediators come from a wide range of backgrounds, including law, healthcare, and other professions working with families and children. They are trained to work with people whose relationships have broken down.

Are agreements legally binding?

Any agreement made through family mediation is not legally binding. If you wish to make an agreement legally binding, you can apply to a court through your solicitor. The court will then consider whether to make a court order.

How much will mediation cost?

Charges are per session and vary according to individual mediation services. If you qualify, your mediation may be funded by Legal Aid. You can check if you qualify by calling the Community Legal Service on 0845 345 4345, or by visiting the Community Legal Advice website.

Find family mediators near you

You can get details of family mediators local to you from the Family Mediation Helpline. You can also get general advice about mediation, including advice on whether your case is suitable for mediation. You can call the helpline on 0845 60 26 627, or visit their website.

Putting your children first: a guide for separating parents

A booklet is available giving advice for parents on day-to-day issues they may have to deal with during divorce or separation. Published by Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service), the guide also gives tips on how to support children through the separation process. You can download the booklet here or order a free copy online.

Tax credits and relationship breakdown

If you received tax credits as a couple but have now split up, you don't need to fill in a new claim form. You can make your new claim as a single person over the phone by calling the Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900 or textphone 0845 300 3909.

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