Dundee, Angus & Perth:
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Family Mediation

Exploring options, moving forward

What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is a voluntary process in which a trained, impartial mediator helps family members to communicate more effectively, and to make their own arrangements for the future. Mediation can benefit families by minimising conflict, improving family life and helping to avoid long, painful and expensive legal battles. Mediators do not take sides, make judgements or give guidance, but rather support people to make their own decisions about the future. Family mediation supports parents, young people, children and the wider family through change, particularly where this has occurred as a result of separation, divorce or family restructuring.

Whilst our main focus is on the wellbeing of children, we mediate on a wide range of family relationship issues, for example conflict and communication breakdown between young people and their guardian(s) or parent(s), within stepfamilies, or between grandparents and parents. We also offer mediation on financial and property matters in relation to separation or divorce.

Who is it for?

Family mediation is for everyone: married and unmarried, younger and older. Parents, grandparents, step-parents, children and young people can all participate in family mediation.

When is it helpful?

Family mediation can be helpful at any time if communication within a family becomes difficult or breaks down. This may be:

  • during, or some time after, a relationship breakdown
  • as a result of families re-forming, such as stepfamilies
  • when parents, grandparents, step-parents, children, young people or siblings identify there are difficulties with communication or there are practical arrangements that need to be resolved.

How does it work?

Each family member is offered an individual, confidential meeting where information is shared and options are discussed. If mediation is appropriate, a joint meeting is arranged with the mediator where family members have the opportunity to talk about their concerns, explore options and agree an acceptable way forward. Families may attend several mediation appointments.

What about the children?

Our practice is to work with children primarily through their parents with the the focus of family mediation putting children and young people's needs first. Families can do this best by listening to them, trying to understand them and taking their views and feelings into account. Most of the local family mediation services also offer the option, if appropriate, of a mediator meeting individually with children and young people to hear their views on issues which affect them. The mediator agrees with the child or young person what they would like to feed back into the mediation process for their parents to hear. This service is called "Direct Consultation with Children".

Is it confidential?

Yes. Parents can talk freely and frankly in mediation. What occurs during family mediation cannot be used in civil proceedings unless both parties want it to be or if there are issues regarding criminal activities or the children's welfare.

Mediators are bound by a duty of confidentiality, unless circumstances suggest that issues being discussed may pose a risk to clients or the wider community. Such issues include domestic abuse, child protection, money laundering and terrorism. In all circumstances, care is taken to protect confidentiality and no disclosure will be made without discussing the issues first, unless there is an urgent risk of harm.

Who are the mediators?

Family mediators have undergone thorough training and an accreditation and registration process. They have extensive knowledge and understanding of the complexity of family life and separation, divorce and family restructuring. They all work to professional standards and go through an annual renewal process to demonstrate that they have met the required standards of practice, supervision and Continuing Professional Development.

What about the courts?

In Scotland the courts will not become involved in the decisions families make following a separation unless they are asked to. Mediation can help families to make decisions about children without going to court. However, if families do go to court even at that stage the sheriff may refer them to local family mediation services.

You will find answers to some commonly asked questions, under What We Do.

I would just like to thank you for a great service which really helped both myself and my ex partner on various issues concerning our children. Having a third party listening without judgement or bias helped us on a brighter future for everyone for the first time in seven years.

Relationships Scotland Family Mediation Tayside and Fife is the operating name of Family Mediation Tayside and Fife