York - 01904 716000
Wetherby - 01937 583210
Malton - 01653 692247
Wetherby 01937 583210
Malton 01653 692247

Family Mediation Lawyers York, Wetherby & Malton

Ware & Kay is one of the leading firms in North Yorkshire to offer a Family Mediation service to help resolve family problems.

Family Mediation is an alternative way of resolving issues surrounding divorce or separation. Our Family Mediators aim to assist by working with separating couples in an impartial way, facilitating them in finding their own positive solutions to their issues and separating with dignity. In Family Mediation we work with couples to help them consider different options and to explore each one in detail. Family Mediation can be particularly helpful to couples who wish to minimise potential conflict and for many can offer a quicker and more cost-effective alternative to Court proceedings.

What is a mediator and how does mediation work?

What is a mediator, how does mediation work, and in what way is mediation a good alternative to the traditional route to divorce?

A mediator is an independent and neutral negotiator, who is able to talk to both sides and who works for the benefit of the whole family. As there is just one mediator, he or she will have a clear idea of the feelings, wishes, hopes and fears of both parties.

As there are not two lawyers sending letters to each other, the process can be quicker, less expensive and less aggressive. This last point is particularly important where children are involved, because the parents will have a continuing relationship for as long as they both are providing parental care.

The mediator will gather all the relevant financial information and, by using use his or her knowledge and negotiating skills, try to draw the two sides together into a sensible, fair and practical agreement that will be acceptable to both of them and to the Courts.

At Ware & Kay, we actively encourage people to attempt to resolve their disputes using mediation at any stage of their divorce/separation and/or family dispute.

Aims & Objectives

Mediation aims to assist people to reach the decision they consider appropriate to their own particular circumstances.

Mediation also aims to assist people to communicate with one another now and in the future and to reduce the scope or intensity of dispute and conflict within the family.

Where a marriage or relationship has irretrievably broken down, mediation has regard to the principles that the marriage or relationship should be brought to an end in a way that:

  • Minimises distress to the participants and to any children;
  • Promotes as good a relationship between the participants and any children as possible;
  • Removes or diminishes any risk of abuse to any of the participants or children form the other participants; and
  • Avoids any unnecessary cost to participants.


Mediation Frequently Asked Questions

How does mediation work?

You may contact a mediator directly or your solicitor may refer you. What can you expect to happen?

The mediator will speak to you briefly about the process to ensure you understand how it works. They will then contact your partner and have the same conversation with them. Sometimes mediators prefer to do this face to face rather than on the telephone.

The first mediation meeting:

You and your partner will then meet with the mediator and outline the issues you need to resolve. You might also talk about how to provide your financial information, fix the date or dates of future meetings and/or raise anything which is of immediate concern to either or both of you.

Working out the details:

Further meetings will be scheduled at which you may exchange financial information and consider options. The mediator may suggest other help, such as financial advice or support for your children. Between meetings, you may wish to meet with your lawyer for advice.

Finalising the proposals:

Once you have proposals you both find acceptable the mediator will prepare a summary of them together with a summary of the financial information which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your lawyers. After you have both received legal advice and if you are both still happy with the proposals, the lawyers will convert the summary into a legally binding document and carry out any necessary implementation.

How can I decide whether to go for mediation?

Your solicitor will be able to discuss with you the merits of the various options and help you to choose the best one for you. Picking the best option for you and your partner may depend on factors like you and your partner's willingness or ability to cooperate with each other, whether any violence has been involved, where you and your partner live.

The cost will depend on how quickly you are able to achieve a result and how much work your solicitor has to do on your behalf. If one of you is self-employed or owns a business, expert help from accountants/financial advisors may be needed. This will add to the cost, but costs should only be incurred where they are proportionate to the result you're trying to achieve. If you go to court, it is common for your solicitor to instruct a barrister to represent you. Mediation is usually cheaper than going to court.

How can I be sure that the mediator won't side with my ex?

Mediators are highly trained and qualified professionals; they do not take sides. They may ask probing questions but they are trained to be impartial throughout and to recognise if one person is more dominant than the other. They will ensure that both of you feel able to say what you want to say on an equal footing.

Mediation Advice

Splitting up

Divorce or separation can be a time of conflict and heartache. If you have decided to split you probably have all sorts of questions and worries about what the future holds and how to manage both the practicalities and the emotional impact of the relationship breakdown.


Mediation is a way of resolving disputes and difficult issues between separating couples. Mediators can help with all the issues faced by separating couples, or you can choose to use mediation to resolve specific issues such as arrangements for your children.

Mediators are trained to help people resolve disputes. A mediator will meet with you and your partner together and will identify those issues you can't agree on and help you to try and reach agreement.

Mediators are neutral and will not take sides. They are not advisors and will not give advice to either of you and will usually recommend that you obtain legal advice alongside the mediation process. However, Resolution trained lawyer mediators will provide broadly based legal information to both of you within the mediation if this is appropriate.

Once you have proposals you both find acceptable the mediator will prepare a summary of them together with a summary of the financial information which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your lawyers. After you have both received legal advice and if you are both still happy with the proposals, the lawyers will convert the summary into a legally binding document and carry out any necessary implementation.

Parenting Apart

If you are thinking about divorce or separation, one of your biggest worries is likely to be about your children: where they will live and how they will continue to have a meaningful relationship with both of you.

When you divorce or separate you continue to be parents. So it is important to make sure that the process of divorce or separation does not prevent you from cooperating on what is best for your children. A constructive approach will lay the best foundations for the children to feel settled with the new family situation.

Finding a way forward

Families come in all shapes and sizes and there are no magic answers. You know your children best, so you will be best able to consider the effects of your break-up on them and together find a solution that works for all of you. Agreements reached together by parents are more likely to work in the long term and be respected by the wider family. Family mediation services may be able to help you achieve this.

If you can't reach agreement you can ask the courts to decide the matter. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on the best way of doing this, without letting matters relating to children get tangled up in any financial disputes.

Money and home

If you are at the beginning of the divorce or separation process, a real concern you may have is what the financial outcome of your split will be. You may well have worries over whether you'll be able to keep the family home or whether your children will have to change schools, how much money you will have to live on. These pages look at some of these crucial questions in more depth.

Deciding on housing arrangements

It is impossible to say decisively at the outset of a divorce or dissolution who will get the house. With details of your circumstances, your solicitor can give you an informed opinion as to the division of your assets.

If you and your partner can't agree on who will get the house, or any other asset, the court can be asked to decide this. It is the Judge's job to apply a test of fairness.

There are no hard and fast rules as to who gets what but the Judge will look at a number of different factors:

Given that the needs of any children are the first consideration it will be important to make sure that a suitable home is maintained for them. This doesn't necessarily mean that the parent with the day-to-day care of the children will keep the house. Where there is insufficient money for both households, courts can take into account the fact that the non-resident parent will need somewhere large enough to allow them to have the children to stay overnight.

It may be that the family home can be sold with the proceeds divided between the couple (not necessarily in equal shares) allowing both to re-house suitably.

Alternatively, the property could be transferred to one person with the other perhaps receiving a greater share of the assets.

A less common approach would allow one person to stay in the house with the other keeping an interest in the property, receiving their share at a later date. This might be when the youngest child has finished full-time education.

If you and your partner are renting under a joint tenancy and are unable to agree between yourselves who will get the house or flat, the court will consider factors such as the needs of any children, your respective housing and financial needs, the circumstances in which the tenancy came about and your suitability as a tenant. If a right to buy has been acquired, this will be taken into account.

Determining how much money you will get

At the moment, when a marriage or civil partnership fails, the courts use their discretion to decide how a family's finances and property are divided up. This means that they look at all the circumstances of the case but will put the welfare of the children first.

In particular, the courts will look at:

  • The welfare of any children in the family
  • Your respective financial positions now and in the foreseeable future
  • The standard of living you each enjoyed during the marriage or civil partnership
  • Your ages and the length of the marriage or civil partnership
  • Any physical or mental disabilities
  • Contributions made or likely to be made to the welfare of the family
  • Conduct if it would be unfair for the court to ignore it but it is very rare for conduct to be taken into account
  • The value of any benefits you would lose on divorce or dissolution of the civil partnership

Contact our Mediation Solicitors in Yorkshire

To find out more about our Mediation services and how we can help you, call us today on 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby) or 01653 692247 (Malton), or complete our online enquiry form.

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