Family mediation is a service to help couples who have decided to separate or divorce, or who have already separated, to negotiate their own terms of agreement, taking into account the needs and interests of all involved. In certain circumstances, mediation can also assist in disputes within families.
A state-funded family mediation service was established on a pilot basis in 1986 and placed on a statutory footing by the Family Support Agency Act 2001. Since November 2011 the family mediation service previously provided by the former FSA has been provided by the Board. The role of family mediation is to encourage the separating couple to co-operate with each other in working out mutually acceptable arrangements on all or any of the following:
- Parenting the children
- Financial support
- Family home and property
- Other issues related to the separation
Unlike civil legal aid and advice, family mediation is free for the client.
Paired law centres and mediation offices
The Board provides family mediation through 16 mediation offices. Some offices are “co-located” with law centres. In Kilkenny, there is an integrated law centre and mediation office.
It is a goal of the Board to encourage the use of mediation to resolve family related disputes. For the convenience of referrals and to encourage the building of relationships between law centres and mediation offices, each law centre has been paired with a nearby mediation office. As there are more law centres than mediation offices, certain mediation offices will be paired with more than one law centre. However, regard should also be had to the client’s preference and address. For example, where a client is attending a law centre outside of their own county for conflict reasons, they can be referred to the mediation office in their own county. Likewise clients living on the boundary between two counties that may be nearer to a different mediation office to the formally “paired” centre can be referred to the more convenient office.
|Law Centre||Mediation Office|
|Chancery Street||Jervis Street|
|Corks Popes Quay||Cork|
|Cork South Mall||Cork|
|Dolphin House||Dolphin House|
|Galway Francis Street||Galway|
|Galway Seville House||Galway|
|Jervis Street||Jervis Street|
|Montague Court||Dolphin House|