Mediation is a voluntary, confidential, non-adversarial conflict resolution process in which a mediator who is neutral and impartial assists both parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreements. The mediator will help the parties communicate and negotiate with each other. The mediator is not a judge and will treat all information given to him/her in a confidential manner and will not disclose it to the other side without your consent.In mediation the parties discuss all the issues that need to be considered in order to bring the relationship to an end such as parenting, financial support, property division, debts and pensions and so on. 

During the process it is helpful to seek individual legal advice or information so that the parties can be fully informed when making decisions around their situation. Obtaining legal advice or information does not mean that one has to get involved in the court process. 

In mediation, it may be possible to resolve all issues or only some. The decisions made in mediation will be drafted in a Mediation Agreement. If the parties finalise a Mediation Agreement and want to make it a legal document, they can take the agreement to a solicitors who will then help them legally formalise it. If there are some issues which remain unresolved, their solicitors can advise them and negotiate on their behalf to make a court application to have the unresolved matter dealt with if neccessary. 

The Family Mediation Service (FMS) is the State funded mediation service, which can be availed of free of charge. Family Mediation Services are located nationwide with full time offices operating in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick; and part-time offices operating in Donegal, Kerry, Laois, Louth, Mayo, Sligo, Waterford, Westmeath and Wexford. People wishing to avail of the service can call the office most convenient to them and ask for an appointment. 

Additionally as a result of the Courts Service and Family Mediation Service Initiative, there is a mediation service available through some Family Courts.  One should check with the local family court office to see if mediation is available through that court office. Click here for telephone numbers of your local family court office. 

Mediation services can also be accessed through the services of a private mediator. The Mediators Institute of Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland and the Bar Council of Ireland keep a list of mediators trained in family mediation, see below links for further information. 

Leaflets / Publications: 

The Family Mediation Service and the Legal Aid Board have a number of  very useful publications on their website  to explain the issues around separation and how to best avoid court proceedings, where appropriate. The Legal Aid Board website will direct you to other useful publications on supporting young children and teenagers through the separation process.   These comprehensive booklets provide information on family mediation; who it is best suited to and how it works; how children and related parenting issues can be best dealt with in the separation process, and how to manage the financial issues arising on separation and/or divorce. It also includes information on how to cope with grief and loss at the end of a marriage/relationship, children’s reactions to separation/divorce and managing the stress of separation/divorce. 


Custody, guardianship and access are all terms that relate to a parent’s relationship with their child.  They can also be relevant to other adults who may not be biological parents but who are involved in the life or upbringing of a child.

NB:  The Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015  has brought in significant changes in several areas of family law.  In particular custody, access, maintenance and succession rights have been impacted by this law. Please see the relevant page for information concerning these changes.



The Legal Aid Board 

Free Legal Advice Centres 

  • Address: , 13 Lower Dorset Street, Dublin 1. 
  • Tel:+353 (0)1 8745690 Fax:+353 (0)1 8745320 
  • Website: 
  • Email: 

Family Mediation Service 

Child and Family Agency – Tusla 

Citizens Information 

 Accord Catholic Marriage Counselling Service 



University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF