Family Mediation Council registered mediators are trained to the same high standards and follow the same Code of Practice, but come from a range of backgrounds and professions. Here we introduce you to a few mediators who describe how they came in to mediation and their experience of the role.
I am an accredited Family mediator working online and across London and the South East. I also work as a Professional Practice consultant, locum solicitor and parenting coordinator. I am trained as a child inclusive mediator and hybrid mediator.
Five years ago, I took a big step and left traditional legal practice to set up my own business. I had been mediating and working as a lawyer for around 20 years on complex financial separation cases, care proceedings and RSPCA prosecutions. I wanted to provide a platform to offer tailor made solutions to separating couples and focus on my mediation skills.
A significant difference between my legal work and my job as a mediator is the opportunity to meet both individuals involved in the dispute. It is transformative for both sides of a story to be listened to. So many of the misunderstandings and confusions which arise between people going through relationship difficulties lie at the core of the dispute. Working with everyone involved, sometimes including children, helps to achieve a holistic and tailor-made approach to problem solving and relationship difficulties.
Mediation involves information and coaching and helps demystify the legal process so clients can facilitate their own solutions. Family professionals need to integrate with each other to provide the collaborative real-life solutions which families are looking for today. Working as a hybrid mediator involves cooperative working with solicitors, financial neutrals, PODEs and others. A child mediation involves identifying the team around the client including friends and family and professionals such as therapists, coaches, advocates, family consultants etc. I like to work in a collaborative and cooperative way within the boundaries of a clear mediation framework.
Family mediation is now at the forefront of the family dispute solving process within families in England and Wales. The accessibility of online mediation and the recent FMC voucher scheme has increased uptake in my experience. My recent training as a parenting coordinator has enabled me to develop my mediation skills further, meet new people and educate parents in the effects of conflict on children. I’m glad I took the career steps I did and I’m grateful to all those who have mentored, advised and supported me along the way.
I am a family mediator, accredited to undertake child arrangements and financial cases. I am also a qualified civil-commercial mediator, and my background prior to mediating was in mentoring and coaching. I feel that all of these fields are similar as they are solutions-focused. Coaching has given me the essential foundations for mediation and has been instrumental in my mediation success. I have always seen myself as a natural communicator, E.G. active listening skills.
I would say mediation is challenging at times, but this is fine with me as I do like a challenge. Providing clients with a safe space and watching them work past their differences, ultimately finding a solution that works for them, is something that I find very rewarding.
From the moment I trained, I immersed myself in the mediation world and was quickly recognised as community mediator of the year in 2018-2019. I now sit on the board of directors and co-chair the College of Mediators. I have run my own mediation company since 2016 – Access Mediation Services.
When I was in college, I delivered a talk on young enterprise (A scheme which helps young people develop business skills). A gentleman from the audience approached me afterwards and said that I should go into mediation. I never paid any attention to what he said, nor did I know or understand what mediation was, at the age of 23. A few years later, I did come back to this and researched what mediation was, which is where I found my first mediation training course.
I am registered blind, and some may find it unusual that there is a blind mediator. Being disabled has provided me with many hurdles, and I have equipped myself with the skills to overcome them. It has also given me the ability to empathise with others naturally. I find that these skills really support me within my mediations.
For more information about myself or my company, please visit accessmediationservices.co.uk.
My name is Hassan Roushandel and I am currently a family mediator at my private practice, Sukoon Mediation. I did my training during the lockdown in early 2021 with the Family Mediators Association (FMA). I am also a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team at the Family Mediation Council (FMC), a team dedicated to actively encouraging diversity in family mediation, and to identify and remove barriers to people from those groups who are under-represented from becoming mediators. Alongside mediation, for several years I have been lecturing at the Islamic College, an Institute offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in partnership with Middlesex University.
Unlike many of my mediator colleagues, I don’t come from a legal background. Prior to becoming a mediator, I did my Masters in Legal and Political Theory, which is considered a philosophy degree. At first, I felt overwhelmed by the level of legal and financial literacy required to meet the standards. I raised my concern with my supervisor and she reassured me that mediators come from a variety of backgrounds and they pick up the skills gradually and through experience.
Mediation is not only a rewarding job, but it is also quite enjoyable. What I particularly enjoy about mediation is the opportunity it provides people to look for solutions for their own disputes. Clients are encouraged to think practically and to see things with an objective point of view. As a mediator, I help them embark on this worthwhile journey by actively listening to each individual and guide the conversations to eventually arrive at their desired solutions. Mediation is fascinating because it respects the fact that decision- making lies in the hands of the clients and they determine their own destiny.
I began my career in Social Care in 1998, as a Family Support Worker supporting children, young people and families offering parenting advice and practical support. I then went on to complete my Social Work Degree and Post Qualifying Award in Social Work in 2001, specialising in Child Protection and Safeguarding. I have worked in the public, private and voluntary sector.
Throughout my social work career, I have seen how parental separation can impact on children when parents who are in conflict cannot work together in moving forward. I have also seen the reverse of this when parents have been willing to adjust to a co-parenting relationship, with children being at the focus and centre of all their decision making.
I began working with an organisation delivering the Parenting Apart Programme and this inspired me to complete my mediation training. In July 2021 I qualified as an accredited family mediator. Working towards and beyond accreditation has allowed me to grow as a mediator and to further develop my mediation skills as well as drawing on my social work knowledge and experience.
I remain very passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference to children’s lives. I believe that working with children and parents at the earliest opportunity to overcome challenges they face during separation and divorce is a significant way to engage, support and empower parents to come up with their own solutions, build resilience and improve potential outcomes. Listening to children’s views and wishes and giving them an opportunity to have a voice in mediation is something that I advocate, and I am looking forward to becoming a Child Inclusive Mediator.
I am surrounded by such supportive colleagues and PPC that have all been great role models. Co-mediations have been invaluable as my colleagues have been able to share their wealth of knowledge and experience, providing continuous guidance and support.
I have always aspired to be a lawyer. It was probably all the episodes of Crown Court that I watched as a child! I qualified as a Solicitor in 1991. I wanted to specialise in a field of law which involved advocacy. I dreamt of becoming a criminal lawyer, but fate had a different idea; in 1994 I found myself specialising in family law instead. My caseload consists mainly of financial settlements for separating couples and children cases.
I qualified as a Family Mediator in 2000. I can honestly say I have never regretted it. I deal with all issues mediation and I am qualified to see children in mediation too.
I enjoy problem solving and the more complex the better. My roles as a solicitor and a family mediator allow me to do exactly that. Being a mediator is far harder than being a solicitor. However, I enjoy mediation more, because it is more challenging and personally satisfying.
Seeing a child in mediation is a valuable tool. I have seen first-hand how it can empower a child and boost their confidence. Earning the child’s trust can sometimes be tricky but every time, I have found the child has appreciated the chance to speak and be heard.
I can see the benefits of family mediation and promote it whenever appropriate. Since 2010 I have been a legal trainer for National Family Mediation, helping them train trainee mediators. I am, also a peer mediator trainer, which involves teaching children to mediate with their peers and acquire worthwhile skills.
Personally, I find family mediation very rewarding and I feel I make a positive difference. I haven’t given up on my criminal career though – I am also a Magistrate helping to deliver criminal justice!
I work as a lawyer and as a mediator. When asked to describe what I do for a living, my reply is that my job is mainly about helping people to separate sensibly. That is true in all that I do – but when mediating it’s at the heart of what I do. I like to share with my mediation clients that I have no agenda other than helping them find an outcome that they can live with.
I’ve been working as a lawyer for 20 years and mediating for 15 of those. I enjoy many aspects of my job, but when mediating I feel like I have the privilege of being invited into the inner circle of a family, who open up and share with me what they are going through, and what they need to move forward with their lives.
I’ve had many memorable moments in mediation – but they rarely come from bitterness or anger. Those moments happen but they are often just an expression of hurt and anxiety. Rather the moments that stand out come about when there is a genuine moment of acceptance, acknowledgment and even sadness at something coming to an end but in a way that, at its best, can also invoke compassion and kindness.
Mediation though isn’t ‘fluffy’. My practice involves all types of family relationship, commonly though families who have complex finances or other structures. Mediation can be as forensic and involved as any other process. The difference is that true mediation is about working together – not apart. I use the analogy that (whatever the set-up of the room or zoom!) we aren’t on different sides, we are on the same side, and together we are just trying to agree an outcome to much needed, but sometimes challenging, decisions.
I am an accredited family mediator working in cases involving children and financial matters. I am also qualified as a child consultation and professional practice consultant. I have my own practice and mediate primarily in the areas of Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Lincoln and I am contracted with the Legal Aid Agency.
Prior to qualifying as a mediator in 2008 I had over 12 years’ experience in family law and family court and my knowledge is helpful to those engaging in mediation and supporting them with my understanding of the court processes, legal costs and the wide-ranging options which participants can consider in mediation. I have also worked for over 10 years as a volunteer for Citizens Advice as a generalist advisor.
I feel it is important for participants to have a safe environment where they feel they can express freely their issues and concerns and have the opportunity to be heard and understood in the knowledge their conversations are private and confidential and they remain in control of their own personal circumstances.
Family breakdown is a difficult time for everyone including extended family members and reaching an agreement for the future without the necessity of a court decision can be more effective long term for everyone rather than a court-imposed decision.
Attending mediation aims to assist clients reach decisions they consider appropriate to their own family circumstances and to communicate with one another now and in the future to attempt to reduce the scope or intensity of disputes and continued conflict within the family.
I completed my LLB (Hons) Law degree and was called to the Bar in 2012. For a number of years as a litigation advocate, I practised many aspects of civil law, representing clients at County Court hearings across the UK. In 2014 I trained as a civil and commercial mediator and since 2016 I have been working at Community Accord based in Bradford. I am an accredited mediator for Special Educational Needs and Disability as a member of the College of Mediators and the Civil Mediation Council. I have practiced as a mediator since 2018 and I predominantly work as an SEND mediator. In December 2019, I trained as a family mediator with LADR Training, I am currently working towards accreditation with the Family Mediation Council and I am a member of the Family Mediators Association.
Through various forms of education, experience and the wider need in my community I was inspired to become a mediator. Being familiar with the litigation process coupled with the drawbacks seeing how protracted and costly litigation was deepened my drive to assist parties in coming to a favourable and fair settlement. In recent years I have seen there has been a growing need for assisting parents and children to resolve disputes in a non adversarial setting. I enjoy working with clients using a collaborative approach and it has been rewarding to support families in finding lasting resolution.