20th Jan 2017

Family Mediation Week 2017 – Why use Family Mediation?

As we look forward to Family Mediation Week 2017 (23 – 27 January 2017) we examine why you might use family mediation to resolve family disputes and what family mediation services are offered by the team at Family Law in Partnership.

Why use family mediation?

Family mediation has a number of advantages over the traditional Court process:

    • Almost any family dispute can be resolved in mediation including financial and housing arrangements in relation to separation and divorce and issues concerning children such as where they will live, how often they will see each parent and their education, disputes between cohabitants and inheritance disputes. The process is extremely flexible and can be tailored to your particular needs.
    • Unlike the Court process where a judge will be appointed and the process is fixed, you choose the mediator and remain in control of the situation and the decision making process. This can lead to longer lasting settlements than those which are imposed by the Courts.
    • Mediation can take place at any time. It is rarely too early or too late for mediation.
    • Mediation is considerably cheaper than any legal process.
    • Mediation can promote discussions and concessions that would not be possible in the Court process because it is a confidential process. Agreement is, therefore, much more likely.
    • The confidential nature of mediation also means that it is ideal for those seeking privacy and discretion.

Types of family mediation we offer at Family Law in Partnership:

Our family mediators cover the full spectrum of family issues ranging from divorce and separation (including finance and housing matters) to children matters (including residence and contact issues, international relocation of children and schooling) and mediation in relation to pre- and post-nuptial, civil partnership and cohabitation agreements. They also offer preparation and support to couples about to embark on mediation with other firms or court proceedings. Our mediators are able to offer mediation in relation to both domestic and cross border family disputes including international child abduction, access and custody cases.

Our mediators offer all types of family mediation including:

  • Sole and co-mediation. One or two mediators working together.
  • Child inclusive mediation. When child inclusive mediation takes place the mediator will, with the child’s consent, feed their views back into the overall mediation process. We have over 10 years’ experience in this field and four of our mediators are trained in this area. Dominic Raeside is an active member of the Government’s Voice of the Child Advisory Group.
  • Civil/commercial model of mediation. We have four mediators trained in this area.
  • Mediation in cases involving child abduction. We have one mediator who is a specialist in this field.
  • Crunch-point mediation. Crunch-point mediation is intended for disputes which have reached a crunch-point when everyone knows the case should settle but cannot see how it can settle. Click here to find out more about Crunch-point Mediation.

Our team of family mediators:

We have thirteen family mediators including two of the top mediators in the country, Dominic Raeside and Ruth Smallacombe. Dominic and Ruth have a therapeutic, rather than a legal, background. Eleven of our family lawyers are trained mediators.

Our family mediators are among the most experienced in the country and are known and trusted by the legal community for being highly skilled and utterly professional. They hold memberships of both national and international family mediation organisations and take most of their referrals from the best family lawyers in London and the surrounding areas. Their track record for getting to lasting agreements and enabling couples to have good post separation relationships is second to none.

We are the only firm ranked top tier for family mediation by the prestigious legal directory, Legal 500 UK, with five of our mediators ranked as leaders in the field of family mediation. The strength in depth of our team of mediators and the range of skill sets that they are able to draw on, from legal skills and collaborative practice to therapeutic and counselling skills, adds real value to the support and insight that our mediators can bring to resolving complex family issues.

Examples of our family mediation work:

    • Mediation involving a couple who were in their mid-sixties and had substantial assets. Over five mediation meetings the couple agreed their separation, initiated divorce proceedings and successfully negotiated all of their financial arrangements which were recorded into a binding financial consent order without the need for any formal court proceedings.
    • Mediation involving a dispute over schooling between parents who had separated a number of years earlier. It was agreed that the son’s views should be taken into account and a child inclusive mediation meeting was held with their son who was clear about his schooling preference. The results of this meeting were fed back to the parents who agreed to abide by their son’s wishes.
    • Mediation concerning the relocation of a mother with her three young children to Australia. After a number of mediation meetings the father agreed to the mother moving to Australia and arrangements were agreed for scheduled visits and regular contact via Skype with the children
    • Mediation between a lesbian couple and a gay male friend who had fathered a child for the couple who had since separated. The father had a contact order but the child was refusing to visit. The father made an application to the Court for contact with the child. The matter was referred to mediation by the Court. The outcome of mediation was that the father withdrew the Court proceedings, the mothers agreed to encourage the child to begin to see the father again and the child agreed to see her father again.
    • Mediating in a high conflict situation where the couple had separated several years earlier and had found it difficult to adjust emotionally and practically. The parents were in litigation about their children, finances and business interests and their children were in the middle of their disputes. After two mediation sessions, which addressed their conflict and lack of cooperation, the parents were able to focus on the needs of their children, who took part in a child inclusive mediation.
    • Mediating a couple who had been married but were now separated. Their only child had been born when they were in the process of separating. The mediation involved five sessions with careful attention to their divorce and transition to their new separated parent relationship. The mediation resulted in agreed arrangements for their baby and a financial plan was later incorporated into a consent order.

Feedback from former clients on our family mediation services:

What Dominic Raeside’s clients say:

“Life is greatly improved for us all and the children are so much more settled, I shall always be grateful for your help”.

“I felt that my dilemma was understood and appreciated”.

“I wanted to send my thanks to Dominic for all of his help….I was so grateful to him for his advice, patience and kindness”.

“The process was particularly helpful in counterbalancing the fear and insecurity which divorce raises”.

“Please pass on my message of enormous thanks to Dominic. His help in getting us to an agreement was amazing. I know that it would never have been achieved without his careful guidance. I am particularly hopeful of better communication for the sake of our children going forward and Dominic will have encouraged this”.

“Friendly, courteous and professional”.

“We found the sessions invaluable and would like to thank you so much for your professional input. Your calm, shrewdness and perception were very much what was needed”.

“Your help and support has been invaluable”.

Thank you again for your support in helping us to find a way to agree on the relocation (of the children)”.

What clients say about Ruth Smallacombe:

Excellent, empathetic, with a detailed knowledge of the different emotional issues that clients experience during separation and divorce

“Family law needs more people like Ruth”

“Thank you for your help over the decisions I had to make over the most difficult time”

“I know it is your job but you never made it feel like that”


To find out more about our family mediation services, contact Dominic Raeside or Ruth Smallacombe:

T: 020 7420 5000

E: hello@flip.co.uk