Family Mediation Pilot

What is it?
A means tested family mediation pilot scheme is being run by ARC Mediation in collaboration with Waterford Institute of Technology and Newpark Close FRC in Kilkenny. The pilot will provide family mediation only and will be limited to discussion of parenting issues such as access & parenting plans where one or both parties are using legal aid or are lay litigants. The pilot will not address the mediation of deeds of separation or consent terms for divorce.

Who can get Family Mediation services through the pilot?
One of you must be living in the following counties to avail of mediation through the pilot: Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Tipperary. Clients may be offered the choice of meeting in Waterford or Kilkenny, depending on mediator availability.

What are the fees?
The hourly fees are means tested based on disposable income which is worked out from a statement of means. A Statement of Means must be provided by each individual in order to obtain an appointment for mediation. Up until August 2016, fees were calculated based on a sliding scale considering salary & assets, with each client being individually assessed. From August 2016 onwards, only clients with income and assets below a threshold will be accepted in to the pilot on a flat rate of €25/hour.

How soon can I get an appointment?
We aim to provide an appointment for you within 2 weeks of contacting our offices. Appointments are available on Monday of each week between 9:00am and 7:00pm. Financial information for the purposes of means-testing must be provided to our administrator Laura La’Brooy, she will then confirm your hourly fee for mediation and your appointment times.

What does it mean being in a pilot?
By taking part in the pilot you agree to allow information to be gathered by the researchers which will then be published and will also be used to promote reform in family mediation in Ireland. In many countries, family mediation is one of several “pre-litigation services” which help separating couples resolve issues outside of the courts system. The pilot will study the cost efficacy, administrative overhead and outcomes of family mediation, among other quantitive and qualitative measures of success. Neither you, nor any family member will be identified in any way. The information collected is anonymised.

Every Monday in Newpark Close FRC in Kilkenny or in Suite 9, 2nd Floor, Wallace House, Canada St. Waterford.

What if the pilot times don’t suit OR I don’t want to be part of the Family Mediation Pilot project?
We still offer private family mediation sessions to all clients. ARC has been practicing as family mediators since our foundation in 2010 and have produced agreements (including Deeds of Separation & consent terms for divorce) for over 400 clients. Our process is described here. Our private sessions are not means tested; sessions cost €123 per hour (inclusive of VAT) and can be scheduled 6 days a week from Monday-Sat, 9:00am to 8pm. Most private clients are seen within 10 days of contacting us and our success rate is over 80% (each year since 2010) despite frequently being referred “high conflict” cases by the courts.

How many sessions will we need?
Based on our experience, we estimate between 8 and 12 hours to agree a parenting plan. Note that clients get to “test run” their parenting plan where the parties trial a short term agreement over a few weeks and give feedback before agreeing to a longer term parenting plan of duration typically 6 months to a year.

Will mediation just make the conflict worse? 
We’re asked this question a lot because clients are so stressed by conflict and the pain that comes with relationship breakdown that they believe they will not be able to discuss their issues. Their problems feel insurmountable. We understand the stress that conflict creates in the lives of our clients and their families. Our aim is to reduce that stress by addressing the issues creating conflict as quickly and calmly as possible. We do so by putting in place mini-agreements, as described earlier, often from the very first session. Our clients tell us they wish they’d tried mediation sooner.

All enquiries about the Family Mediation Pilot should be made to pilot administrator Laura La’Brooy at 087 345 7569. or email Laura