What is mediation?

You may be wondering what mediation is all about. You may be wondering if mediation actually works...


In 2013 “nearly two thirds of couples who attended a single mediation session for a child dispute reached a full agreement. Almost seven out of every ten couples who opted for mediation reached an agreement.”

How does mediation work?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process which enables both parties to explain their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified mediator, reducing conflict by improving communication and understanding, allowing you to make informed, balanced decisions about your future.

What can I expect?

At Stratford Family Mediation practice, Catherine specialises in helping resolve disputes involving all kinds of family relationships, with mediation sessions focused on you and your unique circumstances.

Catherine will offer support and direction for clients who want to separate, divorce and parent amicably, or want to resolve other family disputes, for example between older children or relatives.

Of course, this is far easier said than done, and a lack of faith or trust can be normal as well as distressing, but Catherine will take you through your dispute resolution options so you can reach an agreement that suits your situation.

What do I do next?

To book an introductory meeting with Catherine, please click here.


Contact Catherine if you need a MIAM – Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting – and authorised court application forms for England and Wales (Form C100, Form A).

Stratford Family Mediation Services

Divorce & Separation

Where a marriage or relationship has irretrievably broken down, mediation can help minimise distress to everyone involved.

Together with an impartial mediator you can work logically through each issue, even where conflict exists or communication has broken down.

You do not necessarily have to be in the same room or on the same Zoom screen to mediate if you would feel uncomfortable.

At the end of mediation, we can write up a Summary of Proposals’ without prejudice document, which you can take to your solicitor.

Mediation is especially useful for couples who are not married, and therefore fall under Civil, rather than Family, legislation.

“Nearly two thirds of couples who attended a single mediation session for a child dispute reached a full agreement. Almost seven out of every ten couples who opted for mediation reached an agreement.” 

Source: Ministry of Justice 20 August 2014


Mediation promotes a good relationship between parents and children, obviously taking safeguarding risks into account. 

Mediation also avoids any unnecessary costs, especially if we apply for a Mediation Voucher which can cover up to £500 of expenses, including the cost of a Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM) session.

Child Inclusive Mediation is an additional service all our mediators are qualified to offer. CIM gives children the opportunity to talk with the mediator working with their parents, and share their views or concerns about the current and future situation.

This meeting is confidential, but the young person can agree a message to be relayed to parents via the mediator.

In our experience, giving children the opportunity to voice their opinions always makes a valuable contribution to the mediation process and enables the adults to make informed decisions about arrangements for their children.

Property & Finances

“Mediation is proven to resolve finance-related disputes in a quicker, less stressful manner. The cost of mediation vs legal fees is undisputed, with mediation proving less costly and more effective.”

Source: National Audit Office

Mediation follows the same Open Financial Disclosure process as the court, but you make the decisions about your property and finances, rather than asking a judge to decide for you.

At the end of mediation, we can produce an Open Financial Summary document clearly setting out your proposals, which you can take to your solicitor to submit to the court as part of your divorce process.

Integrated Mediation

‘Integrated Mediation’ is a relatively new form of mediation, where you can invite your solicitor or another professional to join a mediation session, in a supportive, advisory capacity, provided everyone agrees this would be beneficial to the process.

This can help avoid a lot of legal correspondence afterwards, and your solicitor can potentially assist in making any joint proposals legally binding.

In addition to lawyers, Integrated Mediation may include Women’s Aid support workers, social workers, mental health advocates, therapists, or wider family members.

Both Catherine and Philippa are trained and experienced proponents of Integrated Mediation.

Legal Aid

If you receive a benefit, like Universal Credit, or had a gross income of less than £2,657 during the past month, and under a formula that takes expenses, capital assets and savings into account, you might qualify for Legal Aid to cover the cost of mediation.

We can do an assessment if you think you might qualify.

If your mediation will include child arrangements, ask us about the Mediation Voucher Scheme, which is not means-tested, and may pay up to £500 of your mediation costs.


Meetings are available online (on Zoom) or face-to-face in a private meeting room in Chipping Campden, at no additional cost.

The Zoom App can be downloaded for free onto any device: https://zoom.us/support/download

Before starting mediation, a mediator has a separate ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM) with each person to understand the situation from their perspective.

A MIAM is completely confidential and usually lasts about one hour. If everyone agrees mediation will be suitable, we will arrange a joint 90-minute session.

If anyone feels that mediation will not resolve the dispute, we can provide you with the relevant court forms.

The 4 core principles of mediation


Mediation is voluntary.


Mediation is confidential, except where there is risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult or where the court requires disclosure. (See Data Protection)


Mediators are impartial; they facilitate negotiation towards settlement and have no vested interest in the outcome.

Decision Making

Decision making rests with participants in mediation.

Mediation is underpinned by:

  • Suitability and safety.
  • Respect for individuals and cultural diversity.
  • Child focus.
  • Mediator competence.
  • Mediation is NOT:

    • Reconciliation
    • Counselling or therapy
    • A substitute for legal advice
    • An opportunity to impose views upon the other party to the mediation
    • An opportunity to abuse or bully participants to the mediation process
    • Legally binding
    • Imposed


    The Family Mediation Council Code of Practice 2010 defines the aims of mediation as:

    ‘2.1 Mediation aims to assist participants to reach the decisions they consider appropriate to their own particular circumstances.

    2.2 Mediation also aims to assist participants to communicate with one another now and in the future and to reduce the scope or intensity of dispute and conflict within the family.

    2.3 Where a marriage or relationship has irretrievably broken down, mediation has regard to the principles that the marriage or relationship should be brought to an end in a way that a) minimises distress to the participants and to any children; b) promotes as good a relationship between the participants and any children as is possible; c) removes or diminishes any risk of abuse to any of the participants or children from the other participants; and d) avoids any unnecessary cost to participants.’

    Source: FMC COP