In short, the answer is no. You can refuse to go to family mediation as it’s still voluntary in the UK. You might feel that family mediation is just another tactic used to stop you going to court and getting what you want. However, a better question to ask yourself is ‘should I refuse and what happens if I do?’

Family mediation is typically reserved for cases involving child arrangements. However, mediation is also good for settling financial disputes and ensuring that separating parties each have somewhere to live and the money to make arrangements work, following divorce. While family mediation isn’t mandatory, it is recommended.

Why is family mediation recommended?

Man attending a family mediation session.

Family mediation is recommended to resolve disputes amicably.

While you might feel that you need to go to court to achieve the outcome you want, it can get messy and add thousands to your legal costs. Mediation is a constructive way for you and your ex to agree on several arrangements amicably, without resorting to a bitter court battle.

Engaging in mediation will give both parties access to an independent mediator, allowing for the opportunity to stop the cycle of conflict. Each party is seen separately by the mediator and they are both briefed on all the different options available to them for splitting their assets and making child arrangements.

Resolving such issues is difficult to do when both parties are angry, hurt and scared, which is why mediation offers a solution.

However, if you’re convinced that you want to go to court, then it’s likely that you will have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), otherwise you can expect your case to be adjourned until you do attend a MIAM, potentially causing a delay that you don’t want.

Failure to attend a MIAM

Woman attending a family mediation session.

There can be consequences for not attending a MIAM.

Failure to attend a MIAM leaves things out of your control, but attending means that you will get an insight into what the court experience is like. Once you file a court application, the court assumes control of your case, meaning that decisions are no longer your own and your control over the outcome is pretty much relinquished.

Attending a MIAM on the other hand is an opportunity to come to a realisation that you need to resolve an issue. Engaging with a mediator is not a sign of weakness, and can still help you achieve the outcome that you want, which we hope is:

  • Ending the cycle of conflict
  • Settling finance and asset division fairly
  • A happy life for your children

You should be aware that under the Children and Families Act of 2014, it is now a requirement for a person to attend a MIAM before making certain types of application to the court, unless you are exempt – for example, if your case involves allegations of domestic violence.

How successful is mediation?

Man and woman shake hands following a family mediation session.

Family mediation has a high success rate.

Mediation isn’t for everyone. However, using Family Mediation to try to resolve a family dispute may save thousands in legal fees and avoid further emotional trauma.

According to a Family Mediation Council survey, family mediation works to settle disputes between separating couples – with whole or partial agreements achieved – in 70% of cases.

Getting Divorced? Holland Family Law Can Help

In divorce cases, Holland Family Law always recommends mediation in the first instance, where necessary. Keeping your divorce, and others matter associated with it, out of the courts avoids high legal costs and bitter battles that can be deeply traumatic for all involved.

For confidential support with your family matter, contact us today. Our service starts with a free, 30-minute consultation in most cases. Should you choose to instruct us, you can expect a start to finish service, ensuring that we’re at your side every step of the way.

Instruct us today… call 0116 436 2170 or email