What happens if a mediation “fails”?

When mediation breaks down, what next?

As a mediator, I always hope clients will come to a resolution on all the issues they are facing. Unfortunately, this is not possible all of the time, often for reasons outside of their control or due to a stalemate that it is not always possible.

Even in the scenarios where all issues have not been agreed there are still benefits to having tried mediation, which include: –


·      If communication has been an issue, just having had some mediation sessions may have improved at communication even if not to the extent that everybody would wish. One step in the right direction is still a step.


·      Financial disclosure will have been gathered and exchanged which will help in the next step of whatever process the couple decide to use to resolve those financial issues because the mediator can share the information. It may be that a small amount of solicitor negotiation is all that is needed to break a stalemate or resolve an issue that couldn’t agreed in mediation.


·      During the mediation process it is common for empathy and compassion to have been shown which can have a positive impact for months and years afterwards.  


·      If specific issues remain, the next step could be arbitration or another dispute resolution tool which will be a much quicker and easier process if other issues have been resolved.


·      Having discussed the issues around either arrangements for children or financial disputes, both parties will have heard and hopefully understood the other persons concerns wishes and priorities. This can make whatever future decisions are made more able to be focused on strategies that will be suitable for all parties.


·      Child inclusive mediation can give children a voice in the process. This will mean that even if a resolution is not reached the children will know that the parents are aware of the wishes that they have agreed to be passed on.


·      If negotiations on issues have failed either with or without the assistance of solicitors during the mediation process, the lawyers will be mindful of the areas of dispute and therefore in a better position to advise on the chances of success, risk of litigation and lightly cost that may follow which may help make course proportionate decisions going forward. 


Following mediation finishing, unresolved issues can be helped through:-

  • Solicitor negotiation
  • Round table meetings
  • Arbitration
  • Private FDRs

 Or if all else fails, the court process.

I can only see advantages in mediating using either traditional mediation, hybrid mediation or the child inclusive mediation process. If you would like to discuss the benefits of mediation with us or what happens if mediation doesn’t resolve some or all of the issues, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800206 2258 or hello@familymandm.co.uk

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