What is family mediation?
Family reconciliation is a process whose purpose, through the mediation of a family mediator, is to guide the parents to find possible solutions to issues related to communication with the child or maintenance of the child. As a neutral person, the family mediator helps parents find ways to reach joint decisions both in the current situation and in the future.
The family mediation service helps parents:
- to resolve differences,
- to find solutions to problems extrajudicially,
- to help children cope more easily with the divorce of their parents,
- to improve relationships between children and parents,
- to make the best possible arrangements based on the interests and needs of the children.
State-funded family mediation services are free for parents.
Who is the state-funded family mediation service for?
The family mediation service is intended for divorced or divorcing parents of a joint minor child or children who have not been able to agree on matters related to the child's life (for example, communication arrangements or child support). The family mediation service is carried out by a family mediator who, as a neutral person, helps parents resolve differences and find the best possible solutions in the situation.
The family mediation service requires equal partners who want to enter into agreements based on the interests of the children and take into account the needs of the parents
How to get a state-funded family mediation service?
In order to apply for the state-funded family mediation service, both parents must submit an Application. Download the application form, fill in and sign it, and send it in the way that suits you:
- The application can be conveniently submitted in the e-service (login required).
- It is also possible to send the application to the e-mail address [email protected] or print it out to the address Paldiski mnt 80, 15092 Tallinn.
- For submission of the application, you can always contact the nearest customer service.
Where to go for information?
For more information and advice, contact the coordinators of the State-Funded Family Mediation Service team.
Family mediation manual
- Family mediation is optional for parents.
- Family mediation offers the opportunity to make agreements extrajudicially and remain supportive of parents even after separation.
- Family mediation is a faster, cheaper, more sustainable method for parents and takes into account the child's well-being, within which agreements between parents are more effective than in court proceedings.
- Parents are equal, and they themselves look for the best possible solution for the child.
- A family mediator is a neutral mediator with professional knowledge and appropriate training.
Providers of state-funded family mediation service:
The family mediation service is carried out by a family mediator who has the appropriate training and professional knowledge. The family mediator has completed 160 hours of basic family mediation training, has experience in counseling, and has higher education in, for example, psychology, law, or social work. The family mediation service is offered in Estonian, Russian, and English.
The working areas of the State-Funded Family Mediation Service are Tallinn, Haapsalu, Kärdla, Kuressaare, Rapla, Jõgeva, Paide, Pärnu, Tartu, Valga, Viljandi, Võru, Põlva, Narva, Jõhvi and Rakvere.
If there has been domestic violence between the parents, the suitability of the service depends on the type of domestic violence, as they have different causes, dynamics, and risks. You can read more about what domestic violence is and how it manifests itself on the Victim Support sub-page, Family violence, and domestic violence.
In a situation where one parent is or has been violent towards the other parent, the victim may feel afraid of meeting the other parent, and therefore it may be impossible to provide a safe environment. It may be impossible for the victim to participate in the family reconciliation session and make decisions and reach agreements. Such a situation adversely affects both the well-being of the victim and the mediation process. In this case, the Social Insurance Board has the right to refuse to provide family mediation services.
If the episode of violence was situational, e.g., one-off, occurred a long time ago, and the victim is not afraid of the ex-partner and wants to participate in the service, the family mediation service can be supportive of the parents. In this case, it is possible to apply co-mediation, i.e., two family mediators work with the family. Family mediators who offer family mediation to parents who have experienced domestic violence have special knowledge on how to spot and support a victim of domestic violence.
The family mediation service requires equal partners who want to enter into agreements based on the interests of the children and taking into account the needs of the parents. If you want to conclude a parenting plan with the other parent, but you have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence, be sure to contact the coordinator of the family mediation service. By talking individually, the coordinators help assess the parents' current situation, the suitability of the service according to the situation, and the parent's readiness to participate in the family mediation service.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the child's right to be heard, and according to the convention, the child has the right to express an opinion on any matter that affects them.
The goal of family mediation is for the parents to reach a parenting plan based on the best interests of the child. In order to determine the best interests of the child, it is important to listen to the child as part of family mediation. The purpose of listening to the child is to give the child the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings related to the divorce of their parents, to express their opinion, and to help them understand what changes are happening around them. The child always has the right to decide whether they want to use this option or not. The child's hearing is planned jointly by the parents and the family mediator.
In the process of the State-Funded Family Mediation Service, the child's hearing is only waived if the child has already been heard, or considering the child's age and level of development, the child's hearing is not possible.
Last updated: 28.04.2023