Mediation helps couples who have decided to separate to resolve any disputes they may have in relation to the key issues of custody and access to children, maintenance, and property rights.
Mediation is not marriage counselling. Its purpose is not to help a couple to reconcile. The mediator is neutral and encourages the separating couple to co-operate with each other to work out mutually acceptable arrangements that they will stick to. Any separating couple can avail of mediation, whether they are married or not. This includes same sex couples.
If agreement is reached, the mediator will draw up the terms of the agreement, which is signed by both parties. The mediated agreement is generally stated not to be legally binding unless the parties arrange for a solicitor to draw up a legal separation agreement based on the mediated agreement. A solicitor can then carry out any necessary legal work such as transferring the ownership of property. The mediator does not give legal advice. It is important for couples who opt for mediation to ensure that they obtain legal and financial advice before and while attending mediation so that they know their rights and can make informed decisions. Mediation is confidential and any communication with a mediator is not admissible in evidence whether or not agreement is reached and even if there are subsequent court proceedings.
The Family Mediation Service is provided free of charge by the Legal Aid Board. Alternatively, a couple may choose to engage a private mediator.
How to arrange mediation
Contact the Family Mediation Service at the Legal Aid Board for a list of centres throughout the country.
There are also many private mediators. For details of accredited mediators contact bodies including Friary Law, Mediation Forum - Ireland, Mediators Institute Ireland, the Bar Council, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Irish Branch, and the Law Society of Ireland.
Maintenance of Spouses and Children Act, 1976 section 8.
Page updated: 17 May 2016