How Mediation Works

The Mediation Process at OFM

Step 1 – Referral

You can contact us by phone, e-mail, fax or letter, or you can click here for a referral form on the website which you can fill in and e-mail, fax or post back to us.

We record your full name and contact details, and those of the other person involved. We also take the names and dates of birth of any relevant children.

You decide whether you’d like to come in for a meeting on your own, and/or whether you want us to contact the other person to see if he/she will consider mediation.

Step 2 – Introductory meeting for you on your own (or with your ex-partner if you both prefer)

Without any obligation, you meet the mediator on your own for a 45-minute information meeting. You will hear about mediation, talk about the issues you want to resolve and decide if mediation is for you. If you decide to proceed, we can then contact the other person to offer them the same introductory meeting (if we haven’t already done so).

Our mediators are self-employed professionals who work at our offices on certain days of the week. Once one person has met with a mediator, we try to ensure that all future meetings are with the same mediator as they will have the best understanding of the case. When arranging your individual meeting it is helpful if you can consider your regular availability and the availability of the other person, so that we can match you to a mediator who best suits your timing.

Please note, at this individual meeting we will perform a means test to assess your financial eligibility for free mediation. Even if you think you would not be eligible for free mediation, we must complete this step. We therefore need you to bring some recent financial documentation. Please see our Costs page for more information.

Step 3 – Mediation meetings for you and the other person

After the information meetings, we arrange appointments of 90 minutes each, dates and times to be agreed by both of you, where you both take part in discussion with the help of the mediator.

At the start of each session, the mediator will work with both of you to agree an agenda. He/she will then help you with your discussions. S/he will take notes and may present you with options for you to consider.

The mediator will make sure you are both heard and taken seriously. He/she will help you to look at the situation from all sides and give you the time and space to decide what is best in all the circumstances.

After each session the mediator may, if you wish, produce a summary of any decisions made in the meeting. This summary will not be a detailed record of the session, but will reflect options and agreements.  If you have agreed with your solicitors, we can also forward any summaries to them.

Step 4 – Outcomes

Our experience has shown that for matters concerning children, you might expect to have around three mediation sessions.

For financial matters, you might expect between three and five sessions.

When you reach a final agreement with your ex-partner, we will offer to draft a summary of your decisions.

75% of our clients reach agreed outcomes.

Step 5 – Reviewing arrangements

You are welcome to return to mediation at any stage. Mediation can provide a ‘safety net’ for you to review matters if and when it would be helpful.