More cases and longer queue for family counselling
Social conditions, welfare and crime
meklingfam, Mediation for parents, mediation, relationship breakdown, separation, divorce, parental responsibility, access rights, family counselling offices, family counselling services, external mediators (for example solicitors, ministers, psychologists)Child welfare and family counselling , Social conditions, welfare and crime

Mediation for parents2009



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More cases and longer queue for family counselling

In 2009 there were just under 20 200 completed mediations; an increase of more than 8 per cent from the year before. Mediations relating to separation/divorce represent the greatest share, with 39 per cent of all concluded cases. Family counselling offices have the most cases, but shorter processing times than external mediators.

A total of 20 185 mediations were completed in 2009; an increase of just over 1 500 cases from the previous year. Two-thirds of the increased case volume came to family counselling, while a third of new cases came to external mediators. The relationship between the number of completed cases of family offices and external mediators is still at the same level as for 2008, 67 and 33 per cent respectively of all concluded cases.


As in 2008, mediation in connection with separation or divorce accounted for 39 per cent of all mediations in 2009, and broken cohabitations accounted for nearly 30 per cent. Disagreements between the parents about parental responsibility, place of residence and access arrangements (mediations according to the Children Act) accounted for 31 per cent of the mediations. Few cases are referred back to mediation after they have been referred to the court system; this only applied to 6 mediations in 2009.

More time before initialisation of mediations

Twenty-nine per cent of all mediations in 2009 had not started after 3 weeks. This is an increase of more than 1 000 cases from 2008. The increase applies primarily to family counselling offices. Thus, 38 per cent of the cases handled by family counselling offices and 10 per cent of the cases handled by external mediators had not commenced after 3 weeks, compared with 34 and 8 per cent respectively the year before. This can be seen in the context of the overall increase in case volume in 2009, especially among family counselling offices. The circumstances of the parents also influence the time

it takes from parents contacting family counselling to mediation begins. For example, the parents do not always have the time or opportunity to take advantage of the session, thus it becomes delayed. However, in 2009, most cases (71 per cent) started before 3 weeks. Thirty-three per cent of the cases with external mediators started within a week, compared to 9 per cent of cases among family offices.

Six out of ten mediations take only one hour

In 2009, as in 2008, most of the mediations, a total of 63 per cent, were concluded after the one hour which is required. While 54 per cent of mediations by external mediators were concluded after one hour, this applied to 68 per cent of mediations conducted by family counselling offices. This suggests a shorter processing time for mediations by family counselling offices than by external mediators, when the cases have been initiated.

Almost all the cases in 2009 were finished within six months, and 90 per cent were completed during the first two months. This applied to both family offices and external mediators.

Completed mediations by external mediations authority, by type of counsellor. 2009

Varied use of external mediators

With regard to the use of external mediators, there is great variation between counties. “Sogn og Fjordane” used almost no external mediators in 2009, while over half of all cases of Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder and Vestfold were conducted by external mediation services. Also in Buskerud, Hordaland and Nord-Trøndelag external mediators were involved to a greater extent; by more than 40 per cent of the mediations.

The various forms of external mediations are used to varying degrees, and this varies from year to year. In 2009, there is an increase of 43 per cent from the year before for private practice lawyers, which represents 26 per cent of all external mediators compared with 20 per cent in 2008. Increasing use of lawyers applies primarily to Oslo, Buskerud and Vestfold. This may indicate the start of a trend towards increasing use of lawyers for parental mediation, but it will take more years with comparable figures to confirm this.

Mediation - for who and when

Mediation is mandatory in connection with separation or divorce (Marriage Act) and in connection with separation of cohabitants (Children Act).


Mediation is also mandatory in connection with court decisions on parental responsibility, children’s place of residence and access arrangements, and this is registered as mediations according to the Children Act . The court may refer parents to further mediation, which is registered as returned from court system (Children Act).


The family counselling offices are the core unit in the Norwegian mediation service, and meditation is a major task in the family counselling service. In addition, from 1 January 2008 onwards, Bufetat (the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs) appoints external mediators as needed; for example, lawyers, priests, social workers, psychologists or others within health and social education. (See "Regulations for mediation by the Marriage Act and the Children Act", § 3 and § 4).


The purpose of the mediation is to reach an agreement on parental responsibility, access arrangements or the child/children’s permanent residence. The child’s needs are emphasised in this respect. One mediation session is mandatory for parents in connection with separation/divorce and separation of cohabitants, but the parents can have up to seven sessions.


On 1 January 2007, mediation was made mandatory also when cohabitant couples with joint children aged below 16 split up. This resulted in a break in the time series as of 2007.

For more figures, go to StatBank Norway .