The professional family mediation sector still continues to develop its mediation practices under voluntary regulation across England and Wales. Year upon year, these developments continue to progress, which is positive. Unfortunately, as the sector has voluntary regulation, it does mean that there are bogus unethical mediators who don’t abide by a code of conduct or set of standards and, as a result, are not sufficiently qualified or experienced for the responsibilities and conflicts of dealing with dispute resolution and actually do more harm than good. Substandard mediation can severely impact family relationships and reflect poorly on the work and the industry’s value as a whole.

At this challenging time in your lives, it is important that your family has confidence that it is accessing professional, regulated mediation services that can provide the outcomes you deserve. However complex and confusing the mediation marketplace may appear, there are a few simple steps to take that can help you avoid the potential pitfalls.

Family Mediation Council approved

Mediators aren’t required to have a license, and it isn’t illegal for them to practice without a qualification. There is one single organisation that is responsible for the regulation of professional practice for family mediation. It’s advisable to search out mediators who are members of the Family Mediation Council (FMC) and adhere to its standards and code of conduct and practice, covering issues such as training, confidentiality, neutrality, complaints and insurance.

The Family Mediation Council only approves family mediators who meet these requirements and are trained and accredited by providers affiliated with the Council. Approved lists of family mediators can be found in the Family Mediation Council’s database.

Bogus family mediators are not qualified, nor can they provide a complete service to potential clients who may wish to explore certain issues, such as signing application forms for the court and other legal documents. In addition to this, because they haven’t had professional training, bogus family mediators may not understand the process to its fullest and, therefore, can’t provide you with full information so you can make an informed decision.

The Family Mediation Council only accredits individual family mediators to carry out family mediation; they do not accredit organisations.

For more information on accredited family mediators, please visit the Family Mediation Council’s Website.

Initial assessments

All family mediators should offer you a mediation information assessment meeting (MIAM). Use this opportunity to ask for details about professional mediation training and whether they can provide written service standards detailing what you can expect from them. All legitimate family mediators should be happy to do so. All family mediators should have a code of practice, a written complaints procedure and evidence of professional indemnity insurance.

Testimonials, qualifications and references 

Don’t be afraid to ask a family mediator about their professional mediation experience and evidence of their family mediation qualification. Be prepared to ask how many family mediation cases they’ve dealt with and the general outcomes of these cases.

Best practice criteria 

The impartiality of the mediator is vital in any family mediation case. You need to be confident that there will be no conflict of interest with any mediator you choose. It’s important during the initial consultation that you feel confident they are there to offer clear information, but not recommendations, and that their practice will at all times be ethical, non-judgemental and transparent.

All family mediators should follow the FMC code of practice to ensure they provide their clients with the best quality mediation they can.

Affordability and availability 

The cost will also be important if you pay privately for family mediation services. It is essential that, from the outset, you understand what total costs will be and that this figure covers everything from the mediation fee to additional costs such as venue hire and travel, if applicable. The availability of any potential mediator is also a much-overlooked consideration. You need to be assured that your family mediator is available when you need them, mainly when time is of the essence.

Any mediation provider should clearly demonstrate their pricing structure on their website for you to see. They should also have comprehensive terms and conditions on their website for you to see.

Contact: Please get in touch with us today to find out more about family mediation near you.

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