Family Mediation Week: separating the fact from fiction about mediation

Family Mediation Week 2018 takes place from 22nd-26th January. Family mediation can be a cost-effective and non-confrontational way to resolve family problems without the need to go to court.

However, mediation is also an often-overlooked and misunderstood area of the law.

To help mark Family Mediation Week, and to separate fact from fiction, here is Browell Smith and Co Solicitors’ guide to family mediation.


False. It’s important to know that independent legal advice is needed in order to arrange a legally binding agreement, although mediation can be extremely helpful for coming to a mutual agreement.


False. We work in partnership with local mediators to offer tailor made cost limitation packages that support the mediation process – and mediation can often keep legal costs low.



True. Mediation focuses on solutions for both parties, and any children involved.  It is important to seek independent legal advice though to ensure that the solutions discussed are fair for both yourself and your children.



True.  Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution for both of you, not a replacement for independent legal advice. You should always seek independent legal advice prior to reaching a settlement at mediation.



False. An experienced mediator will have experience of complicated Family Law matters and at Browell Smith & Co our experienced legal team can assist and advise you every step of the way.



False. The mediators we work with will receive guidance from us on referral of your matter to ensure they know the circumstances of the case. The mediators we use also offer “shuttle” mediation which means that you don’t need to sit in the same room.



False. Unless there are urgent reasons such a risk to life (for example child abduction) or an urgent need to protect financial assets, then normally you will be required to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting and obtain confirmation from the Mediator that you have attended that meeting. We work in partnership with local mediators and can assess whether a referral is required and if so can arrange for this very quickly.



False. It is extremely important that you know where you stand and what legal rights you have prior to the mediation process. If anything this will place you at an advantage for negotiations within the mediation process. We offer an initial fixed-cost legal advice session to enable you to obtain quality legal advice tailored to your situation. This session lasts approximately an hour and will enable us to advise you on the best way to move your case forward together with future costs, and timescales. Included within the initial fixed cost legal advice session we will write to you with a detailed letter of advice, guidance and we will also refer you to a local family mediator should you wish to proceed with mediation.


It can take a skilled mediator to help reach a successful conclusion for all parties. Browell Smith & Co has some of the North East’s leading legal mediators on its staff; we are used to working closely and sympathetically with all parties to ensure a smooth outcome.

If you want to speak to someone about mediation, no matter what the issue, then we can help. Contact our expert team today to arrange a no-obligation chat at any of our offices, in Newcastle, Cramlington, Ashington and Sunderland, or alternatively by 0800 107 3000, to discuss your particular requirements– we can sometimes fit in short-notice appointments if you need to see someone urgently.

Our partners, Family Mediation North East, are offering free half-hour sessions during the week of 22 January for Family Mediation Week – click here to learn more. 

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