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At Bastows, our experienced family mediators aim to try and resolve disputes in an amicable and non-confrontational way through mediation. Family Mediation is a voluntary process, where both parties are encouraged to negotiate freely to reach an agreement that will benefit both parties without the additional heartache and stress of going to court.

Confidential and Impartial

Both parties choose to attend our offices in Southampton, Hampshire, using our private conference facility, which acts as an impartial and positive environment to begin the negotiation process. In a completely confidential setting, any discussions within mediation remain private between the parties and the mediator and cannot be used in court proceedings. This gives the parties confidence to make suggestions which otherwise could be held against them in court. The Family Mediators impartiality must be maintained at all times and both parties must feel confident in this and the Mediator ensures there is no potential conflict of interest.

The Role of a Family Mediator

It is not for the Mediator to suggest a solution. Any decision made within Mediation must be that of the parties. The Mediator’s role is one of assistance and support. Family Mediators can outline alternatives but cannot suggest which alternative is most appropriate in the circumstances. It is for the parties to decide which best suit them. It is not for the Mediator to advise either professionally or practically or to give an opinion. The Mediator is there to help the parties reflect and perhaps have a reality check on their suggestions but not to direct them.

The Value of Mediation

It may seem that if you go to family mediation and seek advice from your lawyer that you are duplicating costs and prolonging matters. In fact if you deploy a common sense approach you can limit the costs of your legal advisers by using them sparingly and when necessary allowing the mediator to assist you with much or all of the issues relating to finances and children. In that way you are saving money and time.

You are unlikely to need more than 4 sessions and if you are dedicated to reaching an outcome then you are more likely to achieve it. At less than £1,000 each on average for your settlement which includes your Mediation Summary you would have saved yourself thousands in legal costs. Our family mediators are solicitors with a family law background and so they are aware of the factors the Court takes into account when looking at the division of assets and children matters.

The mediator is not going to involve you in a process where no progress is being made so if you are not moving towards an outcome the mediator will deem the mediation as having broken down. It is not in anyone’s interest to incur unnecessary costs and delay matters further.

For more information about our family mediation service or to discuss your circumstances, please contact us today on 02380 236025 and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation

If you’re unsure about whether Mediation is the right approach for you or if you want to know more about how the process works, please browse our frequently asked questions about Mediation below.

What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is not about getting you back together. It is a process which assists you in making the right decisions about your finances and or your children without going to Court. The Mediator is not there to take anyone's side so you do not have to feel that you are being judged and as long as you both respect ground rules you can propose anything you like in session without worrying about any consequences.

Has my ex partner instructed you?

No we do not 'act' for either of you. When one of you self refers or if either of your solicitors refer you to us we simply start with a clean slate. We do not hold prior information about you and neither of your solicitors send documentation to us. Our process is independent from that of your advisers. We are impartial.

What should I do if I get a letter from you?

If we write to you it will be to invite you in for an informal discussion about the Mediation process and to ascertain whether the matter is indeed suitable for Mediation. You will not be forced to mediate but it is important that you give yourself the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether Mediation is for you. Your ex partner will have been given exactly the same information that you receive. Nobody is getting one over the other.

What do I need to bring when I see you for the initial meeting?

Usually we will require 2 forms of ID from you and your completed referral form so that we can get an overview of the issues and your desired outcome.

Can I bring a friend along?

You can certainly bring someone along to the initial meeting for some moral support or assistance but during the Mediation session only the mediator and the parties are present. If you both accept that other people also be in attendance at the sessions then that will usually be acceptable to the mediator. Children are not permitted in the sessions.

What happens in the Mediation sessions?

We will look at your issues whether these be children or finance related and we will look at the practical, financial and legal implications of the proposals you put forward. We will do some creative thinking together to get you to a point that you feel is acceptable. You will have to be prepared to be flexible and realistic and in finance Mediations it is important that all information relating to your assets, liabilities and incomes is given in full to each other. We will discuss the forms that you need to complete in session.

Will I be bound legally if I accept the Proposals?

No you will not. The Mediation Summary is only prepared by us once you both accept the proposals. Your solicitor will use the content of the Summary as the basis for the document that he/she has to put before the Court. It is when this is submitted to the Court that it becomes legal and binding.

My ex partner and I cannot agree on anything so what is the use of mediation?

That is not unusual. The purpose of Mediation is to work with parties to help them to come closer to an acceptable outcome. Often parties will start the process poles apart but that can be due to a number of factors not because they wish to be deliberately obstructive.

What if I can’t take time off work?

You will not need to. Make the most of your mediator and use your solicitor's time wisely. You need to make an informed decision when you are in Mediation so it is really important that you get some independent legal advice at some point during the process.

I do not want to duplicate costs by seeing a mediator and a solicitor.

You will not need to. Make the most of your mediator and use your solicitor's time wisely. You need to make an informed decision when you are in Mediation so it is really important that you get some independent legal advice at some point during the process.

I would rather let a Judge decide, at least then I know where I stand.

Of course the choice is yours but remember there is no magic wand. The Judge will look at the facts and will make a decision because that is what the Court is there for. There are no guarantees as to the outcome itself. There will invariably be an outcome which has caused you further distress, a great deal of expense and time and worse still if you and your ex partner share children it will have had a negative effect on your future relationship.

Who are Bastows Mediation?

We are highly experienced Family Mediators and Solicitors who can assist you in reaching a cost effective and efficient outcome. We are passionate about Mediation and its benefits and we believe that all matters relating to families should be resolved in a conciliatory not adversarial manner. Please contact us for further information on 02380 236025.

Mediation Case Studies

Whatever stage you are at, mediation can help. Whether you have a final hearing listed or whether you have only just made the decision to divorce or separate. The door is never closed to mediation. Our client’s issues range from a transfer of a tenancy to complex finances involving businesses and assets overseas. Mediation can also be used to deal with children only matters.

Mediation Case with International Assets

Recently we assisted a couple who had assets in the US and France and there were health issues on the part of our wife client to take into consideration. There was a final hearing listed and the clients needed to deal with their assets, income and capital needs as a matter of urgency. They had been involved in litigation for the last two years which had proved very expensive. In one lengthy session they were able to reach resolution on all of the issues which goes to show that it can be done!

Children only Mediation Case

In another children only mediation case both parents attended two sessions to look at specific issues relating to their son. They were not able to talk with each other outside the process because of the hurt and anger they felt towards each other but they were both focused on what was best for their son and so we were able to use this common viewpoint to build on a way forward. Often because of history and emotion the channels of communication have become tightly shut and it is the mediation process that can assist in gently easing them open again.

Draft Mediation Summary for Amicable Resolution

Another recent case involved a couple who had already made a decision about the division of assets and income needs. They did not wish to involve solicitors in negotiations so opted to come straight to mediation. They were able to deal with their issues in a cost effective and efficient manner using their solicitors only to obtain legal advice when all the proposals had been accepted in mediation. We were able to draft a Mediation Summary at their request and both were comforted by the fact that they had not engaged in a battle because they still wished to maintain a conciliatory relationship for themselves and their grown up children.

Get in Touch


02380 236025

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call us today and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

Lynne Bastow - Divorce Solicitor

Meet Lynne Bastow

With over 20 years experience, Lynne can provide excellent and valuable advice and has a friendly, positive approach towards all her clients, ensuring you get the best service possible. If you would like my help you can contact me here. Contact Lynne

Read Lynne's Books

If you need more information on divorce, Lynne has published two informative guides on divorce, which you can purchase from Amazon.

The Little Book of Divorce

The Little Book of Divorce

Buy on Amazon
The Little Book of Divorce Dilemmas

The Little Book of Divorce Dilemmas

Buy on Amazon


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