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Situations when Family Mediation may be Unsuitable

This blog looks at scenarios when Family Mediation may not be suitable in family separation cases WeedLex: Cannabis Legalization News Medical and recreational weed states map, cannabis legalization news by state WeedLex: Cannabis Legalization News Medical and recreational weed states map, cannabis legalization news by state Traditional dating may be quite tricky and often requires a lot of effort, besides it does not always get you the results you have been longing for. If this was your experience, you might want to start exploring the wonderful world of online dating at site, with millions of single and like-minded people to choose from. Your solution is a grain bowl. Made out of sturdy ingredients..

Early Mediation

Individuals may be in turmoil and emotionally ill-prepared to make decisions during the early stages of separation. Separation can be a very stressful period and the parties might not be able to be in the same room, or talk to each other.

However, there is a model (Shuttle Mediation) where the clients could both be in separate rooms and the mediator goes from room to room to see if the clients can reach proposals.

This can make it difficult, or even impossible, for parties to agree on anything, let alone agree on topics that tend to be difficult, such as finances and childcare arrangements.

It may be better to wait for a period to ensure that the parties are better prepared to discuss the details of separation.

However, waiting too long can make it more difficult for the parties to re-communicate, as the gulf that divides them can become so wide that communication becomes impossible.

Timing is therefore key and would differ case by case; the parties and the mediator need to recognize the good and bad times to mediate.

At a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) we check how the clients are communicating and what methods of communication are being used, as this can be a good guide to show if the client(s) are ready to mediate now.


Bankrupt Partner

Financial provision is usually an important issue during a separation, and in some cases it may be the most important issue. Mediation can be a useful tool for agreeing on a financial agreement in such cases, that can work towards the benefit of both parties, however, there would be no point of Mediation if one of the parties were bankrupt. This is especially true in the case where the person expected to make the financial provision is bankrupt.

Unfortunately, in such a case where financial provision is the main issue, it is usually impossible to agree on financial provision because there is no money. A better course of action may be to apply to court for finances.

If there are other important issues other than financial provision, such as child care arrangement it can be explored if mediation is suitable.


Domestic Violence and Emotional Abuse

Some cases involve a person who is physically and emotionally abusive. Their partner might be avoiding the abusive person for their own safety and might be very uncomfortable seeing, or being in the same room, with their abusive partner. A person discussing separation issues with an abusive partner could feel unsafe and threatened, which is not conducive for Mediation.

Again it could be considered if shuttle mediation could be used as a model for mediation.

Such cases are also unsuitable for Mediation because they involve criminal issues, which Mediation cannot resolve. Victims of Domestic Violence can instead seek the protection of the police and courts, by obtaining a Domestic Violence Protection Order or a Domestic Violence Non-Molestation Order. You would need to seek advice on this from a Family Solicitor.


Location of Partner is Unknown

Mediation requires both parties to be present. In a case of desertion, or otherwise where the location of a partner is unknown, it would be impossible to conduct Mediation.

The best course of action may be to apply for a Divorce on the grounds of Desertion, which can be sought two years after the date of desertion.

Or you could consider contacting mutual friends or relatives who may be able to contact the other party to see if they would be interested in attending mediation.


Mediator in Mediation Information Assessment Meeting thinks Mediation is unsuitable

A Mediation Information Assessment Meeting is held between parties to assess whether the case would be suitable for mediation, and if so, the mediator usually endeavours to encourage the parties to attempt mediation. In some cases, which are not listed in the above in this article, the mediator might be in the opinion that the case would not be suitable for mediation, for whatever reason.

Mediators are trained to assess whether a case is suitable for mediation. In the case that they think Mediation is unsuitable, it is best not to proceed with mediation. However, things may change in the future and there can always be a reassessment.



Mediation can be a useful method for settling family separations, however, as discussed above, it may not be suitable for every case. In such cases alternatives should be sought to Mediation.

In a MIAM we will explain to the client the other options to mediation:

  1. Collaborative Law;
  2. Family Arbitration;
  3. Negotiating between yourselves;
  4. Solicitor Negotiations;
  5. Going to Court.


Shortlands Solicitors are able to help with all of the above options if you considering or are going through a separation or divorce.

This article was written by Harith Akma, who is currently studying the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at City University London. He is an intern for Shortlands, supervised by Austin Chessell. Austin Chessell is an Accredited Family Mediator, Children Mediator and Supervisor (PPC). Austin is also a Collaborative Family Solicitor in Angel, Islington and Hammersmith.


Austin can be contacted by email () or phone (0207 629 9905).

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