Get help agreeing
A mediator can help you and your ex-partner agree on child arrangements, without taking sides.
Mediation is not relationship counselling. It can help you agree on the details of how you’ll look after your children, such as:
- where they live
- when they spend time with each parent
- when and what other types of contact take place (phone calls, for example)
- child maintenance payments
The price of mediation will vary depending on where you live and how many sessions you go to. You might be able to get legal aid for mediation if you’re on a low income.
At the end of mediation you’ll get a document showing what you agreed. This agreement is not legally binding. You can make it legally binding by getting a solicitor to draft a consent order for a court to approve after mediation.
The mediator can decide mediation is not right for you (for example, if there’s been domestic abuse and you need to go to court instead).
If you need more help agreeing
You can get help with preparing to make arrangements and reaching an agreement.
You can also:
- ask a solicitor about other ways to resolve issues out of court
- contact Citizens Advice to find out about any other help you can get
- ask for support from social services, if issues like domestic violence or drug abuse are making it harder to agree on child arrangements
If you do not agree on everything
You can ask a court to decide on anything you have not already agreed.
You must show you’ve attended a meeting to see if mediation is right for you before applying to a court. You will not have to go in certain cases, for example if there’s been domestic abuse or social services are involved.