Children & Parenting

Give your children the support they deserve.
With family mediation, you’ll be putting them first.

What is Family Mediation?


Children are affected when their parents separate. By working together in mediation instead of going to court, parents will help their children cope better. Parenting mediation puts the children’s needs first. It allows parents to talk through child-related matters in a safe, supportive environment.

It can be difficult to sort out parenting arrangements, not least because parents are coming to terms with no longer being able to spend 100% of the time with their children. By learning to separate any negative feelings they may have towards each other, and concentrating on their roles as parents, they can make decisions that will be better for the family as a whole.

What makes Start different?


At Start Mediation, we help parents create their own parenting plans. Parents who don’t live together, are unlikely to have the opportunity to speak to each other on a daily basis about their children. A parenting plan offers an alternative to those daily conversations. Mediation is a good way of creating a parenting plan where parents are unable to do this between themselves.

The mediator will make sure that both parents have the opportunity to speak and listen to each other. They will also help them work out how they should behave in any given situation. Having talked things through, and knowing what is expected of them makes it more likely that they will follow the plan., They will know what to do in an emergency, when they meet a new partner, or when one of them wants to change the routine arrangements.

Creating a parenting plan with the help of a mediator also allows them to practise and improve their communication, and improved communication can help them solve any problems that arise in the future.


A parenting plan might include the following:


  • How to communicate.
  • Living and holiday arrangements etc.
  • Education and schooling.
  • Health and wellbeing.
  • Reviewing and making changes to the parenting plan.

The plan can be written or unwritten, the choice will be yours as parents.




MIAM stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. It is an individual and confidential meeting with a specially qualified family mediator to see if a problem or dispute could be addressed without involving the courts.

Most applicants to the family court will need to have a MIAM before they can make an application. This might be to obtain a financial remedy order following a divorce or dissolution, or to apply for a child arrangements order. A private and confidential consultation, similar to a MIAM, is also needed before mediation can start, even where court is not a consideration.

During your MIAM or private consultation you will have the opportunity to describe your situation and the problem you face. The mediator will explain how mediation works, what the alternatives to mediation might be and how they work. Together with you, the mediator will assess if mediation might be suitable. If relevant, the mediator will tell you about child inclusive mediation and provide information about other services where you can get  help and support.

If  mediation isn’t suitable, or you don’t want to try it, the mediator will provide a MIAM certificate which will enable you to make a court application.

A MIAM lasts up to an hour and can take place in-person or over online video.

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The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about mediation services.

What is mediation?
Mediation separates the individuals from the problem. It enables people and organisations to solve problems and resolve disputes through conversations managed by a neutral mediator . The mediator will also provide legal and other information, clarify issues and ask questions. Depending on the type of problem and depth of conflict, mediation might take place over a single day or over a series of shorter meetings over a course of weeks or months.
What types of problems can mediation help to resolve?
Mediation can help a couple agree on the financial element of their relationship breakdown. It can help separated parents sort out arrangements for their children. It can help adult children discuss the needs of an elderly parent, and an elderly parent explain their needs to their adult children. It can help organisations sort out disputes with customers or other organisations. It can help separated couples decide on the future living arrangements for their pets. It can help sort out neighbour disputes. Mediators have, over the past fifty years or so, helped to end wars in the Middle East and international disputes, such as Brexit. If you have a problem, chances are that mediation can help you solve it.
What happens during a mediation session?
The mediator creates an agenda by asking the participants what they want help with. Then the mediator will suggest some steps which in their experience are best to follow. These steps ensure that the participants move most swiftly to a point where they will be able to make  informed decisions. The mediator will manage the conversation, ask questions, provide information, clarify any issues and reality rest any proposals.
How is the cost of mediation services determined?

The cost depends on two factors: the background hourly rate and the number of meetings. To keep things simple we charge a fixed price for each meeting, rather than charge by the hour. This provides certainty over the cost. The price covers the mediator’s preparation time, the meeting itself – typically 90 or 120 minutes – a written summary and all routine emails and phone calls.  Each participant typically pays their own share. For more details about our prices please contact us or visit the pricing page. 

What is a MIAM?

A MIAM is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. They are required by court rules. Most people who want to make an application to a family court have to attend one. They can only be provided by authorised mediators. The purpose of a MIAM is to provide a potential court applicant with information about the different ways in which their dispute might be solved, as well as details about the duration and cost of those ways. The other person involved is also expected to attend a MIAM with the same mediator.

Who may benefit from mediation?
Married couples, unmarried couples, parents, families, businesses, partnerships, organisations, neighbours, and most others with a problem or dispute.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediators are trained to help people solve problems and resolve disputes. They help people focus on the problem or dispute, not on the personalities. Mediation leads to better outcomes. By this we mean that the outcomes are agreed by the participants and not imposed  on them by a court. Outcomes tend to be reached more swiftly. The court process tends to take 8-24 months depending on the application being made. Mediation typically takes 2-5 months, Also, meditation is considerably less expensive than using solicitors. On average it will cost around only 6% of what two participants might spend together on lawyers in a divorce financial dispute, or in a parenting dispute.
What is the difference between Lawyers and Mediators?
Lawyers are trained in the law. Mediators are trained in problem solving and dispute resolution. Few of the problems presented to lawyers feature a dispute about the law that needs a judge to make a judgement. Most problems actually centre around a breakdown in communication. Helping people communicate better is the essence of mediation. At Start Mediation, our mediators practisced first as solicitors before training in mediation. We’d like to think we can offer the best of both professions.

Still have questions?