Family mediation procedure
Family mediation is a voluntary process. However, from April 2014 in England and Wales, all applicants (not just those in receipt of public funding) have to consider the use of mediation by attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can make an application to the court, unless exeptions apply such as domestic violence. The prospective respondent is expected to attend if invited to do so. If the applicant continues to court they should complete the relevant section on their application to show that they are either exempt from attending a MIAM, that they attended a MIAM and mediation was not considered suitable, or they attended mediation and it broke down or they were unable to resolve all the issues.
Additional public information materials on family mediation is available on the UK Government website.
Legal aid remains available for family mediation and for legal advice to support family mediation. You can find out more about legal aid, including whether you may eligible for legal aid at the following website.
Family mediation profession
Family mediation is a self-regulated profession which consists of a number of membership organisations to which mediators are affiliated. These member organisations are represented by the 'umbrella' organisation, the Family Mediation Council (FMC). The FMC was established to harmonise standards for family mediation in England and Wales and represents its member organisations and family mediation practitioners in the dealings of the profession with government.
Family mediators come from a number of backgrounds, including legal, therapeutic and social services. The various membership/accreditation organisations maintain their own sets of training and professional standards, which feature training requirements. The Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) has been established to monitor and regulate family mediation standards of the FMC member organisations.
The FMC is a non-governmental body and plays a central role among its member organisations, which are non-governmental organisations/associations and founder members of the FMC. The most prominent of these are:
You can find an accredited family mediator on the FMC website.
You can identify a mediator in your local area by accessing the 'Find a Local Mediator' tool.
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