Mediation as a way to resolve family disputes is now at the top of the Government's agenda to encourage couples to resolve their disputes rather than go through a costly drawn out court battle.

Changes in the law regarding mediation

As part of this drive on 22 April 2014 section 10 (1) of the Children and Families Act came into force. This provided that before a couple can apply to the court for any process relating to their children or their finances they must attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with a specially trained mediator approved by the Family Mediation Council. There are exceptions to this where for example there has been domestic violence.

We have specially trained mediators at Russell-Cooke who are accredited and approved by the Family Mediation Council to carry out such MIAMs.

Is mediation right for me?

If you are not planning to go to court and want to mediate we still see both of you individually - for a suitability meeting - to help you decide whether mediation would be best for you.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation helps you sort out your disputes about your children and your finances where you are separating. Our mediators will help you both find practical solutions that you both can live with.

What are the benefits?

  • gives you both control over the outcome
  • is less stressful than court
  • improves your communication especially as parents
  • is easier on your children
  • is quicker and cheaper than court
  • provides a summary of the outcome which can be made legally binding by the court
  • can help you whether you have started court proceedings or not
  • can help you both change any agreements later on if circumstances have changed

How we can help?

Our mediators have years of experience as mediators and as family and children lawyers. Therese Nichols and Fiona Read both trained in 1997 and Therese became a Resolution accredited mediator in 2001 and along with James Carroll is now accredited by the Family Mediation Council.

All discussions with our mediators are face to face and are confidential. We are also trained to see your children in mediation. This will give them a voice in the process if you both think this necessary and your children agree. We will also refer you to other support services if needed.

Visit Sorting Out Separation for additional information.

The Legal 500 ranks the team as tier 2 and states "few firms have such a strong offering and commitment across the board to ADR as Russell-Cooke" (2019).

Law Society Childrens Panel

The Children Panel Accreditation Scheme aims to connect you with practitioners experienced in representing children and other parties under the Children Act 1989.


Resolution’s 5700 members are family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Our members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Our members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family - and in particular the best interests of children.

Law Society Family Panel

The Family Law Accreditation Scheme covers all types of family law work. Members will have shown, to the satisfaction of the Law Society, that they have and will maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of family law.

Russell-Cooke ranked as Top 25 family law firm in UK

Russell-Cooke has been recognised as one of the Top 25 Family Law Firms in the UK by eprivateclient, a leading news service for private client practitioners.

Charges are usually based on mediators' hourly rates plus administrative charges and disbursements. We will provide you with an initial estimate of your likely legal costs and will update this as your requirements or the circumstances of the work change.

Typically the costs are shared equally between the couple mediating or such other arrangement as is agreed between the mediator and the couple at the first mediation session.

We would be pleased to discuss your requirements free of charge and tailor a costs proposal accordingly.

CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service)

Cafcass looks after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. They work with children and their families, and then advise the courts on what is considered to be in the best interests of individual children.

Court service

Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Our remit is to deliver justice effectively and efficiently to the public. We are responsible for managing the magistrates’ courts, the Crown Court, county courts, the High Court and Court of Appeal in England and Wales.

The Department for Education

The Department for Education was formed on 12 May 2010 and is responsible for education and children's services. All statutory guidance and legislation linked to from this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise, but may not reflect Government policy.

Relate – advice about relationship difficulties

Relate is working to promote health, respect and justice in couple and family relationships. As the country’s largest provider of relationship support, every year we help 150,000 people of all ages at a national network of 77 Centres working at 600 locations as well as by phone, online and via SMS text. Our services include relationship counselling for individuals and couples; family counselling; counselling for children and young people; and sex therapy. We also provide friendly and informal workshops for people at important life stages. Relate campaigns to see relationship support for children, adults and families at the heart of the social justice agenda. We are also the lead agency of the Kids in the Middle coalition, a group of national charities and agony aunts campaigning for better services for separating parents and their children.

Womens Aid

Women's Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. We work to end violence against women and children, and support over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the country

Men's Advice Line

The Men's Advice Line is a confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner. This includes all men - in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.


Refuge is a charity for those suffering at the hands of domestic violence and is governed by a council of management consisting of a chair and eleven members. The council of management meets quarterly and exercises its management functions through a system of delegated authority. Members are professional individuals skilled in management and community care, property management, finance, health and safety, equal opportunities, marketing and the law.

Housing and homelessness advice

Shelter is a charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing.


Resolution (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) is an association of family solicitors committed to promoting a non-confrontational approach to conflict resolution.

Parenting plans

This publication looks at the issues parents and relatives need to consider when making contact arrangements after a parental separation, and it offers advice on family relationships, supporting the children, and what to do when they are finding it difficult to agree.

Parentline Plus

Parentline Plus is a national charity that works for, and with, parents. In the UK there are over 24 million people who parent – it’s not just mums and dads who do it. Parentline Plus works to offer help and support through an innovative range of free, flexible, responsive services - shaped by parents for parents.

Click here for further information

Families Need Fathers

Families Need Fathers seeks to obtain, for the children, the best possible blend of both parents in the lives of children; enough for the children to realise that both parents are fully involved in their lives. Legally, parents should be of equal status. Families Need Fathers is firstly a social care organisation, helping parents whose children's relationship with them is under threat. We offer information, advice and support services for parents on how to do the best for their children. We are the only organisation that provides these services on a national basis.

Child Contact Centres

NACCC is the supporting membership body for around 325 child contact centres and services located throughout England (including the Channel Isles), Wales and Northern Ireland. It is the largest in Europe. Child contact centres and services are neutral places where children of separated families can enjoy contact with their non-resident parents and sometimes other family members, in a comfortable and safe environment. Over four thousand volunteers and staff work in these centres and over seventeen thousand children use them each year. They are run by a variety of independent organisations that form the membership of NACCC, along with affiliated members such as family lawyers, CAFCASS, CAFCSS CYMRU and the judiciary.


ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people.

It's Not Your Fault

Practical advice for children, young people and parents who are going through the process of separation.

Help and advice about children

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in was founded in 1889. The NSPCC is inspired by a belief that we can make a difference for all children – by standing up for their rights, by listening to them, by helping them when they need us and by making them safe. Our vision is ending cruelty to children in the UK. We believe cruelty is preventable and that through having an inspirational vision we will achieve much greater success for children.

CLS Direct

Community Legal Advice is a free and confidential advice service paid for by legal aid.

Community legal services and public funding (legal aid)

The Legal Aid Agency providex civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales

Citizens advice bureau

The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice, and by influencing policy makers.

Child Support Agency

The Child Support Agency (CSA) is part of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. Our role is to make sure that parents who live apart from their children contribute financially to their upkeep by paying child maintenance.

Click here for further information

Tax Credits

Inforamtion on whether tax credits can help you and your family.

Click here for further information

Department For Work And Pensions

Click here for further information

The Law Society

The Law Society is the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales.