Mediation in divorce and family proceedings

Before you can apply for Legal Aid to be represented by a solicitor in family proceedings you will first need to attend a meeting with a trained mediator to assess whether mediation could resolve the differences between you and your partner.

Subject to your income, you may be entitled to Legal Aid to pay the costs of mediation and for your solicitor to advise you about mediation.

There are some circumstances in which you will not be expected to try mediation before Legal Aid is granted to allow your solicitor to represent you in family proceedings.

For example:

If your partner has been violent towards you or you are afraid he / she is likely to become violent.

If your partner lived more than 2 hours away from a mediation service, or if there is no mediator available in your area, or they cannot deal with your particular problem.

Also if you suffer from a disability or any other restriction on your ability to travel to see a mediator or for them to assist you then you will not be required to attend mediation.

Your solicitor must seek an exemption from the Legal Aid Agency.
At present there is no requirement on a person who is not eligible for Legal Aid to attend mediation, i.e. if you pay privately for your solicitor. However, the government is reviewing the divorce law with a view to introducing mandatory mediation.

Divorce - the different grounds or reasons for divorce

Relationships & Family Law