What Family Mediation is and What Family Mediation isn’t.

By 8th October 2019 January 20th, 2020 Blog


When we thought about blogging about this topic we decided it would be important at the outset to provide a scholar’s definition of mediation. Obviously, like most of us these days, we looked to the internet for a sound definition of Mediation and discovered that Wikipedia defines it as follows:-


 ” Mediation is a dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process.”


Whilst this definition makes absolute sense to me, as professionals working in the field of family mediation, we began to think of the people accessing FMNI for the first time and just how unhelpful a literal definition could be. With this in mind we have decided to write about mediation from a very practical standpoint.    W essentially want to communicate what we feel you, the participant, might want to know before coming in to mediation.


Family Mediation is – an opportunity to work out any issues concerning a child (or children) after parents have separated or are thinking about separating

Family Mediation isn’t – counselling or any form of therapeutic intervention

Family Mediation is – a chance to resolve conflict, to stay away from the court arena, to re start or improve communication

Family Mediation isn’t – yoga or any other form of relaxation – that’s called mediTation!

Family Mediation is – a safe space to have and hold difficult conversations with your ex partner

Family Mediation isn’t – sitting in separate rooms with a mediator telling you what to say or advising you what to do

Family Mediation is – putting the best interests of your children first and trying to reach agreements that will support them through their parents’ separation

Family Mediation isn’t-about winning or losing

Family Mediation is – all about compromise and negotiating your own solutions to your particular family issues

Family Mediation isn’t – a mediator making decisions for you about your family issues

Family Mediation is – an option to promote co-operation and to move forward building or maintaining a relationship such as co-parenting


We could list other observations that we’ve seen or heard or to attempt to clarify what mediation is or isn’t. However, we’ll stop here and hope that we have provided enough information to define family mediation for those who are considering how best to manage the practicalities of separation with dignity and how to navigate their own future.

If you are seeking assistance with a separation contact Family Mediation NI (Contact)