What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is a process available for couples to use to resolve important issues arising out of their relationship break down, for example, addressing how to separate your finances or how best to look after your children following separation without the need to go to court.

These are issues that can be so challenging and painful but that have to be dealt with before you can begin to live your lives separately. Mediation provides a safe and confidential place for this.

You retain control at all times and resolve your issues in a way that best suits you and your family.

Mediation can also be used to deal with any other related issues you need to resolve arising from your relationship break up and consequent separation.

What happens in a Family Mediation Session?

Family Mediation LeedsYou both sit together with me as mediator. I will facilitate you to achieve your solutions. I am trained to be impartial and in how to help you to make you own choices about the important issues. This means you work out your own solutions between you, keeping control of your own lives at every stage. It usually takes between four to six one or two hour sessions.

You have your own solicitor who you can consult at any time throughout the process to check that you understand and feel happy with what is being discussed in the sessions. Your solicitor is not present at the actual sessions.

When you are happy with the decisions you have reached in Mediation, you then take your proposals to your solicitor for him or her to approve and then, if approved, your solicitors will formalise them and deal with the legalities .You are not bound by the choices you make in the Mediation until they have been checked by your solicitor and formalised.

Benefits Of Family Mediation

  • Family Mediation LeedsYour children will greatly benefit from your increased ability to communicate and co-operate as parents. Research demonstrates that when parents separate, it is the conflict between them that hurts the children most. Anything that can be done to reduce acrimony and anger helps children cope with parental separation.
  • Mediation is much quicker than the adversarial method.
  • Mediation saves the cost of expensive lengthy arguments in court.
  • The presence of an impartial witness at the sessions helps you to feel safe to express yourself more freely and to talk about issues that you may otherwise have struggled to discuss on a one to one basis and which then may leave you with the option only of using a solicitor and the court based approach instead. Consequently mediation provides a foundation for future family relationships through improving communication during the sessions–this is particularly important if there are children.
  • Mediation avoids the alienation ,hostility and tension that frequently arises using the court based adversarial method.
  • If you are able to communicate in mediation, you will probably find that, with the passage of time, you will need less and less to depend on the help of others to resolve issues between you.
  • Mediation helps you to make specific decisions that are right for you and your family – they can be more flexible to fit your circumstances than those a court may order.
  • You keep control of what you want to achieve upon your separation from your partner on the important issues. You will avoid a solution being imposed upon you by a court, or by the pressure on you of the adversarial proceedings generally.
  • Mediation is solution focused.

Relationship / Conflict / Couple Coaching

Relationship/Conflict Coaching offers you the opportunity to resolve your differences with your partner/spouse or any family member or members on any issue. All parties meet for sessions with me and we will identify the issues to be resolved. The strategies and tools necessary will then be ascertained in order to achieve this. I will work with you to help you to be able to hear what you each are trying to say to the other. This will be supported  because it will be in  a safe and controlled environment. I am impartial and therefore on no-one’s side. I will facilitate communication and work with you to resolve your differences or otherwise help you to clarify your position.

Court of Protection Mediation and other related Mediation

Mediation can help resolve all sorts of contentious issues in this area of law .

For example:

– Which care home should an elderly relative be moved to?

– How should the finances of an incapacitated adult be managed?

– any conflict between relatives and carers to include ones over which the court has no jurisdiction and so cannot be resolved by a court but for which a resolution needs to be found-eg where should a relative’s ashes be scattered? Should a relative be cremated or buried?

Mediation also has many additional benefits for parents, carers and service providers including:

– families can re-establish and maintain an on-going and positive relationship with the local authority, service providers or their representatives and benefit from partnering with them, other support workers and with anyone who has responsibility for the care and support of the person concerned.

– Conflicts that arise out of misunderstandings or lack of shared information can be resolved through a mediator helping all those involved to communicate directly with one another.

– Issues about the care and support of a vulnerable family member are complex and can best be solved by working together.

– Mediation tends to be faster and less costly and therefore often more appropriate than adversarial approaches such as court proceedings.

– Mediation can result in agreements that work best for the on-going care and support of vulnerable family members.

What is Commercial Mediation?

Commercial Mediation is a process available to parties in conflict who wish to avoid going through the courts by reaching an agreement between themselves facilitated by a mediator. Such issues include Inheritance Act disputes, business disputes, road traffic accident disputes, consumer issues, and almost any issue potentially involving court proceedings.

Other General Mediation/Conflict Resolution

Mediation generally helps to turn conflict and deadlock situations into change for the better. It helps people to see the whole picture which then enables them to find their own informed solution between them.

In this context, I undertake Mediation in all its varying forms to include Workplace Mediation, Conflict Resolution for Families/Groups/in the Community generally, Meetings Facilitation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution Consultancy.

Where? When to meet?

I meet with my mediation clients in my converted stable office at my home in Chapel Allerton, Leeds. I am happy to be flexible about when to meet with you and am happy to meet on a weekday before 9am or evenings to avoid your taking time off work. Please contact me to discuss my charges. I have a range of options and would be very happy to explain them to you.

Who Am I

I am a fully qualified and accredited Mediator, having been practising as such since 1994. I undertake Family, Commercial and all types of Mediation and Conflict Resolution. I gained my qualification with the Family Mediators Association in 1994 and am accredited with the Legal Services Commission. I gained my qualification in Commercial Mediation with ADR Group in 2005.

I am a qualified Professional Practice Consultant and in that capacity, I supervise other Mediators and help them with their Mediation Practice. In addition, I hold a qualification which entitles me to consult directly with children in the Mediation Process and I am qualified to carry out MIAMS assessments. I have acted as Consultant in setting up a Mediation Service for two firms of solicitors respectively and currently undertake Mediations as a Consultant for Blacks Solicitors of Leeds. I also train lawyers to become mediators on behalf of ‘Resolution – First for Family Law’ (the main recognised training body for mediators and solicitors in the UK). I have undergone the training to be a facilitator for Restorative Justice.

I am a qualified Divorce and Relationship Coach and Life and Business Coach. I coach couples in my capacity as Divorce and Relationship Coach to assist in relationship difficulties and / or to help them through the divorce / separation.

In my capacity as Life and Business Coach, I coach/mentor clients adults and young people and I run workshops. I completed my training as a professional Coach with The Coaching Academy, graduating with a Diploma Excel in both Life Coaching and Corporate and Executive Coaching – the Coaching Academy is the most well-established and widely acclaimed coaching training provider. I am also a qualified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), having obtained a Diploma accredited by International NLP Trainers Association (INLPTA). I have also completed a course at Masters Level in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) at Leeds LMU and I hold a qualification in Transactional Analysis and in EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique).

I also facilitate the design of Personal Development Plans for individuals and groups.

I was a partner in an established firm of solicitors for 19 years specialising in all aspects of family law and subsequently provided family law consultancy services through a different also well-established firm of solicitors.

I have many varied clients – a sample of my clients include the The Department of Health, Royal Armouries in Leeds, Leeds City College, the Prison Service, Leeds City Council, various firms of solicitors and also private individuals such as business owners, teachers, students/young people, families, unemployed people and professionals.

The experience I have obtained during my law career, both in successfully helping clients at challenging points in their lives, and also as a partner in helping to manage a successful business, together with my longstanding coaching experience, has allowed me develop a range of skills which guide me in my mediation work.

Mediation Testimonials

The whole process of separation is difficult and sad but at the same time there are practical things that have to be tackled. After a very long marriage, resolving assets through a brutal court battle was not my preference and therefore I chose mediation to help my husband and I deal with the financial side of things.

I didn’t know what to expect and I was open-minded about mediation knowing that if it didn’t work I had the choice to pursue a different route.

As soon as I met Viv I knew I could confide in her about my deepest feelings without risk. She explained the process very clearly and the differences between mediation and the more formal legal route. Viv was consistently professional throughout the entire process and always 100% fair and objective to both of us. Viv strikes a great balance between getting the job done in a structured and logical way while allowing sufficient pauses for reflection and expressing feelings.

Even outside of our mediation sessions when I needed to refer things to Viv she was accessible and tremendously supportive. During a very unstable and frightening period which sometimes seemed to be going on forever, Viv was a person in whom I could place my trust, something which is so important at a time like this.

Having internalised the loneliness and pain of a very difficult marriage for numerous years, there are very few people who I would put myself in the hands of, but I can highly recommend Viv as a person to help facilitate a final outcome during even the most difficult of separations in a neutral, pragmatic and most of all, human way.

SS – Head of Customer Operations – 4.2.13

Having already gone through the horrendous process of the family court and a huge solicitor’sbill wewere still unable to agree on residency arrangements for our 3-year-old. The separation, then court had left us both emotionally and financially drained.At our last court appearance we both agreed to give mediation one last try, we had tried it previously with another provider with no success.

During my research I was immediately attracted to Viv as she was not only a qualified mediator with a credible background in law but the fact she combined this with a coaching approach made absolute sense as mediation can be very stressful emotionally.

Viv was honest, pragmatic, sensitive, firm and most of all neutral. Those first few sessions were very difficult as there was a lot of resentment, mistrust and sadness between us. Viv allowed the emotion to be expressed respectfully whilst keeping us very much on track with the job in hand.

After each session Viv was very pro active and sent each of us a timely email on what we discussed and what we had agreed to do. She never pressurised us to do it but we both felt that the contract was not only between the two of us but also with Viv which for us resulted in working hard on the tasks we had agreed to do outside the sessions.

As a result we have had a huge breakthrough and are now able to communicate much more effectively which ultimately has had a profound effect on our relationship enabling us to make good decisions for the future.

I am so glad that I chose Viv as our mediator, I only wish I had found her first time round she really is brilliant at what she does and I would recommend time and time again – thank you so much for your help and support Viv.

LD – 1/7/11

I am a  solicitor and Head of a Family Law Department  and in that capacity ,refer my clients to mediation when I can see that it will benefit them best. You can trust Viv to do a good job.  You know that if you refer cases to her she will do all the necessary things like keep appointments, phone your clients back promptly etc but beyond this professionalism, you know that if you refer cases to Viv for family mediation that if a couple can’t come to an agreement with Viv’s help, they can’t come to an agreement at all.  She’s helped resolve some disputes I never thought were capable of being resolved, but she doesn’t pretend to be a miracle worker and is decisive in calling the process to  a halt if she knows it isn’t going anywhere.  After over 20 years of practice I typically advise clients who are personally recommended to me who have busy professional lives with high expectations of service and results.  I have no hesitation in  recommending Viv to them.  I always tell those who are receptive to the mediation process to give it a go, Viv is a good mediator who knows what she is doing.  I’m not known professionally for shying away from litigation but I firmly believe clients shouldn’t  enter the Court process which invariably ends in compromise and legal fees at least equivalent to the cost of a new car, and often a very nice new car, until they are sure there is no other way forward.

Gabbie Clasper – Solicitor and Head of the Family Law Department with Emsleys Solicitors, Leeds – 8.4.16

Viv Hulland assisted my husband and I in settling our divorce through the mediation process.

Although we have both found separation and divorce stressful and emotional at times, Viv was very supportive and her calm and friendly nature helped keep the meetings as pleasant and amicable as possible.

My husband and I were most definitely singing from different hymn sheets at the start of the process but a few meetings later Viv successfully managed to help us close that gap and reach an agreement that felt right for both of us.

I would certainly urge any couple that are having to go through a divorce or separation to get in touch with Viv and give mediation a go.

Sandie Bulloch – 16/6/11

From our first meeting it was clear that Viv was a caring & attentive listener who immediately put my wife & I at ease in what was tense & emotional situation.

Neutral & pragmatic, Viv helped guide us to a final outcome that I’m sure we would have not reached as speedily & amicably had we taken a different route. There were rocky times during our negotiations but Viv helped to gently smooth the path to a happy outcome, helping us to keep emotions aside & focus on a mutually positive agreement & out look for the future.

Mediation is not something that you choose to go through but given the choice of that or tearing each other to pieces in court I know which one I would make. If you can find a mediator like Viv to help you along the way then the whole process will be made that much more bearable.

Thank you very much for all your help & support Viv, we both are grateful & glad to have met you.

Andrew Bulloch (Company Director) – 15/6/11

I am a Partner in a firm of solicitors and am Head of Family Law in that firm. I would not hesitate to recommend Viv to fellow professionals and clients in her role as a mediator. I feel that Viv’s experience as a former family lawyer combined with her life coaching and mediation skills set her apart from the average mediator. Coupled with this is the fact that Viv has a very calm aura and relaxed temperament which I believe would instantly help to diffuse tension and becalm even the most obtuse of parties within the mediation process. I have referred a large number of clients to Viv over the last few years with very positive outcomes…

Jeremy Atkinson – Partner and Head of Family Law Department with John Howe and Co, Solicitors, Leeds – 19.4.16

I am a Solicitor specialising in Matrimonial Law and in the course of my practice, I refer clients to mediation. In that connection, I would highly recommend Viv to anyone considering mediation.  From my point of view, as a solicitor, Viv is really helpful, deals with referrals incredibly quickly and is excellent at communicating the outcome of such referrals and providing written notes of the discussions had at mediation sessions, which is useful given solicitors are not party to these meetings.  I am also pleased that all of the clients I have referred to Viv have given positive feedback of their experiences.  Sometimes they resolve all their issues; sometimes they only resolve some.  Whatever the outcome, they report to me that they had felt very comfortable discussing their circumstances with Viv and found her supportive throughout the process, as well as her being very effective in directing the sessions towards a meaningful and useful discussion.

Katie Kilburn – Associate Solicitor with Stowe Family Law, Leeds – 7.4.16

I would highly recommend any potential clients to use Viv in any mediation process. I found her to be professional, honest and an excellent mediator.

Having tried to conclude financial matters for some time, she managed to steer us both in the right direction in only two meetings and we achieved more in those meetings than we had in the previous six months including opening up communication lines and thus improving our relationship going forward.

She is an excellent listener, she is organized and methodical and has the ability to ensure that discussions don’t go off on a tangent.

I would highly recommend her services.

S.J. – 7/6/11

The environment and atmosphere of Viv’s offices are lovely, relaxed and easy to work in.As difficult and painful as the sessions were personally, Viv was completely neutral, sensitive and professional in her approach to our problems and what we needed to achieve from the sessions.

Viv very quickly and easily opened up the communication between my ex-husband and myself to assist in our financial settlement for our divorce, Viv also helped us to amicably resolve child access.

To be honest I wasn’t completely open to mediation when I started it, but now at the other side of the process I found visiting Viv very productive, less expensive and a more personally tailored process than using solicitors. I would have no hesitation to recommend Viv and her professional services to anyone going through the divorce process.

AMJ – Payroll Manager 30/11/12

Hi Viv

Thank you for your note, I am more than happy for you to close the case for R….. and O…… Thank you for your sensitive professional approach to both the children, your support throughout this process has been fabulous.

Best wishes


Cheryl Thomas – 19.9.18 (Mother of two children, aged 10 and 16, seen in the mediation process)

My ex-husband and I were unable to move forward, as our discussions usually descended into slanging matches. Yet, however highly charged and difficult the situation was, Viv’s skill in steering us towards finding something positive to take forward was amazing. Her approach is light touch, perceptive and responsive to our needs, while, at the same time, being uncompromising in achieving results at every session. So much more effective and so much cheaper than lawyers!

CB, Senior Policy Maker (Civil Servant) – 9/3/10

I recently underwent several mediation sessions with Viv regarding divorce. Although, I initially attended the meetings with some trepidation, I found Viv very professionally guided us through the process to come to a solution we could both accept.

Viv conducted the meetings with sensitivity, she was particularly skillful at guiding us away from recriminations and accusations – something I was particularly concerned about.

I feel that Viv conducted a potentially unpleasant process efficiently and fairly. I am pleased with the outcome and looking forward to moving on.

S.J – Sonographer – 5.7.14

Hi Viv,

Just a quick e-mail to say thank you for your help and assistance over the past couple of months. Whilst difficult and at times frustrating, I know that we wouldn’t have made as much progress as we have, without you guiding us along the path in a safe, friendly and non biased manner.

Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

Kind regards


Peter D – Media – 23.12.16

Relationship Coaching Testimonials

My Wife and I both began wanting the same things from a relationship, we had similar and complimentary goals in life for both our careers, children, and hopes for the future. Over a period of time, we began to not necessarily grow apart, but the day-to-day was driving a wedge between us, and work demands keeping us apart for extended periods. We spent a lot of our time together having fierce rows and had reached a “make or break” point.

Initially I was sceptical that anything could be salvaged from our relationship as there was a lot of anger, misunderstanding and lack of time or interest toward each other. My Wife suggested professional help, as deep down we both wanted to stay together, however there was a lot of ground to cover and it would be a difficult and at times a painful, emotional journey. Through meeting with Viv, committing to the process, we focused on where we wanted to get to, and with Viv’s help, we were able to slowly work through many issues.

It’s not easy. It is draining to go through problems, especially with someone you have made a lifelong commitment to, and who has become “the enemy” so to speak. It is also a challenge to reflect with self-analysis.

We were given unique tools to aid us as individuals and as a couple. Viv showed us immense courtesy, professionalism and exercised a brilliant level of insight from an outside perspective. Viv does not sit there and tell you what to do, but encourages open, frank conversation. The process lets this follow its own natural course. We found that this helped us as individuals and as a couple, to realize what we want.

The help we received has taught us a lot about each other and ourselves. For that we are eternally grateful. Without Viv’s assistance, we would without doubt, be divorced, and have two wonderful children with an absent parent. We have come to terms with where we were, and now we feel stronger as a team, better together to take on the world, we know there will be arguments, it’s a fact of life, but we have been helped to learn lessons to work together to achieve a happy and stable relationship.

It goes without saying that it was worth every smile, tear, hour, minute and penny invested at the beginning of the process. Again, you are not told what to do, you learn, realize, and decide for yourself, gaining considerable maturity in the relationship and future together.

To say Thank You to Viv, seems to fall somewhat short in showing our appreciation for her time, skill and professionalism. A job well done!

GM – Airline Pilot-19.11.12

Thanks so much for Wednesday evening. It really helped to break some of the ice of the past week and we are now getting along again. It really helped to talk about things with your calming influence there.

We really appreciated your time and help with navigating our way through the tangle of confused feelings that has developed in our relationship over the years.

On a personal note, I just wanted to say thanks for helping us (me) with our long running debacle discussed this session. I don’t know quite how, but during the session I felt myself letting go of it and my animosity towards them, and really think I can now get over it and move on. Your email helped jog me along with this too. You have a way of saying ‘get the hell over it already’ which makes sense to me and is still sensitive and accepting of the validity of my feelings. Or something. Anyway, it helped a lot. So thanks.

Hope you have a lovely weekend. We will now have one too – thanks to you!

JR – Teacher – 15.3.13