Family Mediation: what it is and why you should care Emma Heptonstall for

Family Mediation: What It Is and Why You Should Care

Family Mediation: what it is and why you should care Emma Heptonstall for


by Emma Heptonstall


Family Mediation: what it is and why you should care.

So, you’re separating and divorcing. Have you booked your Family Mediation yet? Perhaps your lawyer just asked you to consider it and in your gut, you think “Yeah right, I’m seeing him in court”.  You’re also thinking “What is Family Mediation and why should I use it?” You just want to have your day in court and let the judge know what you think of him right? Here’s the thing. It can be normal to feel like that. It’s OK to be angry frustrated and sad. But those feelings are rarely alleviated by going to court. If you wanna get mad and tell him what you think, Family Mediation can grant you your wish. Here’s why:


What is family mediation?

Family mediation is where you and your former partner sit down with an independent third party, a  Family Mediator to help you BOTH decide what is right for you and your family in terms of arrangements for your children and or, your finances. This can be particularly important if you are a businesswoman.

It may be, depending on the length of your relationship, that your husband has a financial interest in your business. You need to get clear now at the outset how much your business is worth and how much of it he is entitled to. You need to figure out how you are going to manage running your business and be a single mum with all that entails. Even though you are separating a divorcing, you and your children are still entitled to his support. You can ask for it in Family Mediation.

Communication can, however, be difficult. Traditionally, you have gone to your lawyer and he has gone to his lawyer. Lawyers have made money from both of you by sending letters backward and forward to each other on your instructions. Sometimes you never even see your former partner in the process. This doesn’t help either of you build a new type of relationship – the co-parenting one. It usually builds anger and resentment.

Now let’s get clear, family mediation isn’t for everyone. If you have been subjected to domestic violence, I’m not necessarily talking to you. Some women who have been subjected to domestic violence (both physically and verbally can, and do mediate – but you need to take advice on that). I’m talking to you if you could talk with your former partner (even if you might not want to). There’s a world of difference here ladies.


What are the benefits of family mediation?

  • You stay in control of the process.
  • You get to decide what you will talk about.
  • It’s quicker than the traditional litigation route.
  • You stay in communication with your former partner (particularly important if you have children together).
  • It saves you money – a lot of money.
  • The process can help you move forward through the emotion of separation and divorce in a supported environment.
  • Family mediation is confidential.


Family mediation is voluntary nobody can make you do it. In the UK, family mediation is considered to be the way forward for the majority of people. In the UK, public funding is still available for mediation if the funding criteria are met. This means that you get the support of Family Mediation without having to pay for it. Even if you do have to pay, Family Mediation is much cheaper than the traditional court process. Here in the UK, an average contested divorce will cost £8,000 to £10,000 each. That means as much as £20,000 can go on legal fees before you even start on what assets you have.


So, before you dig your stilettos in the ground and insist on going to court, take a moment to consider how Family Mediation can help you.


Family Mediation helps restore communication that may have been lost. In my experience as a family lawyer and divorce coach, I have found that many people’s relationship breaks down not because they don’t love each other anymore,  they have lost communication. There can be many reasons for this. We can talk about Facebook and in a recent article I wrote about Facebook and divorce, you see that it is now cited in one-third of divorce petitions as the reason for the relationship breakdown. It can be the use of smartphones, and it can be in my experience, the dissatisfaction that people feel with our lives today.

One of the things that Family Mediation can do for you is help you consider alternative means of communication. As a successful businesswoman, you know how much easier it is to have a face-to-face meeting with a colleague or with a potential client. Perhaps in your business, you are used to having video conferencing calls. You know having a video conferencing call with somebody that you can see, makes it far easier to build rapport and have a successful conversation with them. You see, only 7% of our communication is the words we use. The rest is tonality and body language. This is missing when you send texts, so don’t do it! If you need to communicate with your former partner, pick up the phone, meet together, or use Family Mediation – you’ll save yourself a lot of miscommunication and heartache.

So, before you dig your stilettos in the ground and insist on going to court, take a moment to consider how Family Mediation can help you.




Emma HeptonstallEmma Heptonstall, The Divorce Alchemist – Women’s Divorce Coach, UK

Hi! I’m Emma Heptonstall, Divorce Coach.

I’m a recovering lawyer having served as a legal adviser for thirteen years. I’m also a family mediator,  a job which love and I’m very proud of. I’m a certified MBit Coach, have a diploma in counseling skills and I’m an NLP Master Practitioner.

I developed Divorce Alchemy to provide divorce coaching for women who know that they need support to deal with the practical and emotional aspects of their divorce in order they make good decisions, which will support their lives as confident divorced women.

My story is different.

I don’t tell my clients that I know what they are going through. I don’t. I’m not divorced. In fact, for what it’s worth, I’m not even married… yet!

You are unique. Your divorce is unique. I get that. I help women because I’m not divorced. I’m not their sister, best friend, or mother. I’m not emotionally involved in their divorce and I’m not on my own healing journey.

I’m delighted to be able to write for I love blogging and sharing my stuff. You can read more go my blogs at and you can download your free copy of The Smart Woman’s Divorce Guide at

I live in York. That’s old York, York UK and I coach women 1:1, either face-to-face or via Skype.

You can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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