Mediation is an Alternative way to resolve Relationship, Custody, Access, disputes.
 Going to court and fighting, which possibly will  lead to increased mis-trust, increased hostility and most importantly a waste of precious financial resources (through the payment of subsatantial fees to BOTH sets of solicitors and barristers), resources that should be spent on raising and supporting the children.
Mediation is about negotiating a solution whioch both parties can agree to, with the aid of a Mediator, who is an independent facilitator. The mediator uses a process of clarification, of scenario building of possibilities etc to flush out the core issues and to help develop possible suggesstiosn of ways forward for along with the two parents.
Read up about Mediation before you reject the idea. Note it’s supposed to be independent and it is, if the mediator is professessional. If you find that the mediator is favourable to one gender then do the mediation process a favour and lodge a formal complaint to the mediation service eg. the FSA.
Mediation is a tool. You can learn how the tool works and you can get a better an dmore effective outcome if you know hwo it works and you stick “on Message”. Time spent giving out about the othe parent at mediation is not effective ( though some ventialtion  may be inevitable to clear the air). However, if the process does not move beyond a slanging match then it’s a wasted opportunity and an invitation to go back to the LOSE-LOSE-LOSE option of court
Mediation Topics  (Sample material from “Fixing the Fighting”)
1 How Lies the Land
Changing Landscape
Workplace Bullying
The Rise of Mediation in Ireland
2 What is Mediation?
Seeking Robust and Lasting Agreement
What Mediation is Not
Techniques Used During Mediation
3 The Benefits of Mediation
Low Cost
Voluntary Nature
Agreement Will be Honoured
Parties in Control
Normal Dialogue
Two Winners
Customised Solution
Flexibility and Creativity in Solutions
Ability to Speak Freely
Respectful Interaction
Suitability for Mediation
4 The Mediation Process
5 Case Study
6 Why Does Conflict Exist Between People in Organisations?
Cognitive Conflict
Affective Conflict
The Iceberg of Conflict
Individual’s Approach to Conflict
Using Metaphor as Common Language
Stereotyping, Attribution and Bias
7 The Greatest Conflict Buster, Ever!
Assigning Blame
8 The Go-betweens
Development of a Competent Mediator
Range of Theories
What Competencies for Mediators Use?
9 Suitability for Mediation
Examples of Situations Where Mediation Could be Used With Positive Results
Barriers to Resolution

Books on mediation

Presentation on Mediaton by Polly Fillamore from the Family Support Agency

Useful Links