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Family Law: Mediation during COVID and Lockdown

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Taking place from 18-22 January 2021, Family Mediation Week aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help separating families manage their issues collaboratively and productively.

The first question you may want answered is how can we help with family mediation during COVID / Lockdown? Ed Rawlins explains:

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way to resolve family disputes and is an ideal solution whether the disputes are concerning children, housing and/or finances.

Importantly, it comes without the worry, expense and adversarial nature of litigation and Court appearances.

What does a mediator do?Family Mediation Week

Partner Ed Rawlins heads our expert Family Mediation Team and has over 20 years of experience working in family law and mediation.

His role as a family mediator is to meet with couples and/or family members to help them reach a resolution and agree a settlement. He has wealth of experience in acting for clients in resolving finance, property and children issues following relationship breakdown.

Ed has worked with many couples to explore with them the ways in which they can resolve their disputes.

A mediator is impartial, neither deciding upon nor judging the issues, instead working to identify areas of agreement and possible solutions.

As an alternative to having an outcome imposed by a Court, mediation is a positive way to reach an agreement. The Family Courts now expect you to have tried to resolve matters through this route before you can apply for an Order concerning a child or finances.

Family mediation is governed by four principles:

  • mediation is voluntary, both parties and the mediator have to agree mediation is suitable;
  • mediation is confidential, except where there are concerns of risk of their being harm to a child or vulnerable adult or a criminal offence;
  • the mediator is impartial, he/she facilitates negotiation having to maintain the trust and confidence of both people;
  • decision making rests with the participants to the mediation.

These four principles are central to the practice of family mediators in England & Wales.

Stage One – What Is Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?

This is sometimes referred to as the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

At this meeting our mediator will:

  • provide information about the process of mediation and other forms of family dispute resolution;
  • start to clarify the areas where there are disputes, and provide options for resolving them;
  • identify other sources of support including financial, emotional and legal;

At the MIAM our mediator will talk to you about your concerns and your immediate priorities, with the aim of setting an agenda for areas to be negotiated. This typically includes children, finance and property issues.

Discussions will take place with each person separately until or unless it is recognised to be appropriate for a full mediation session to take place together.

As well as providing information about what mediation can provide, the mediator is making an assessment about a person’s ability to mediate. Mediation will not take place until the ‘agreement to mediate’ is in place and signed by all parties.

Regrettably, there is no Legal Aid for mediation services but we do offer a range of fixed fees.

  • Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is £135+VAT (£162) per person.
  • The cost of mediation sessions thereafter will be discussed with you at the MIAM.

Family Law Mediation is provided at either our Northampton, Kettering or Higham Ferrers office.

For more information about the Family Mediation Service, please get in touch with us on 0800 088 6004 or you can send us an online enquiry.

Edward Rawlins


Edward Rawlins


Ed has over 20 years experience as a specialist advising on situations arising from the breakdown in relationships (marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation) in respect of both children, finances and business assets. He is a member of Resolution and a Law Society Accredited Family Mediator.