How It Works

The majority of mediation meetings take place by video conference as standard. This has proved overwhelmingly popular with clients due to not having to factor in time and expenses for parking or travel. In addition clients can undertake the meetings in the comfort and security of their own surroundings. However, should you want or require face to face meetings, please let us know. Our primary office for face to face meetings is in Guildford.

Initial contact

If you contact us to find out about, or to book, mediation, you will either do so by filling in a referral form on this site after which we will call you back, or directly over the phone. The admin team will ask you some questions and help you to decide between your initial options.

If your ex-partner or the other parents of your children has contacted us and asked us to invite you to mediation, we will contact you by phone, email or letter to do this and again to ask you some questions and help you decide between your initial options.
The administrator will also identify the best location and time for you to attend a meeting if you decide to do so, will outline costs and payment terms and establish whether you should be assessed for legal aid.

First meeting

The first mediation meeting is known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). It usually lasts up to an hour. This initial meeting is usually on a one to one basis with the mediator.

In the meeting the mediator will assess your matter for suitability, find out from you what issues you have and what you would like to achieve and discuss what mediation can and cannot do for you.


At the end of the MIAM the mediator will discuss with you how you want to proceed. The process remains within your control and you can withdraw at any time.

Subsequent Meetings

Subsequent mediation meetings last approximately 1.5 hours. The mediator will help clients agree an agenda, manage the conversation and do everything possible to keep discussions moving forward and potentially constructive. The mediator can help flag up options that have not been considered yet, reality test ideas that are being considered and provide any information that may be relevant and helpful to the mediating parties. However, any and all decisions remain with the clients; the mediator is there only to provide assistance and support. The mediator will arrange subsequent meeting times and dates directly with you, so that they can take place in the most convenient slots available for you. The mediator and admin team will help you put in place any measures that are necessary to enable you to feel secure enough to mediate.
Mediations that involve only issues regarding arrangements for the children generally take between 1 and 3 sessions, while property and finance cases or all issues (property and finance and child arrangements) often take between 2 and 4 sessions. However, mediation is like a tool which you take down from the shelf as often as you need it. It is therefore not possible to guarantee how many sessions will be required in any given case.

Call us for a FREE discussion on how SFMS can help:

You may also be interested in

What is Mediation?

When you and an ex-partner have family issues about which you do not agree, such as parenting decisions, arrangements for your children, financial arrangements between yourself and the ex-partner or divorce itself, mediation is one of three main formal options that can help you resolve them.

What mediation can and can’t do

You can be given solutions that others in similar circumstances have used. All of our mediators have assisted hundreds or thousands of people in similar situations to you, and can flag up any courses of action that seem relevant to your case.

Why Mediation?

Mediation provides clients with a “safe” environment in which to discuss their issues. In court a judge or magistrates will make decisions about your life / the lives of your children, which will then be binding. You may not agree with the court’s decision and may feel that the outcome does not work and / or is not fair.

Child Inclusive Mediation

There has now been a move across the whole family justice system to give children the opportunity to express their wishes and feelings and have these taken into account in deciding on arrangements.