Less use of external mediators
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 parents2010



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Less use of external mediators

In 2010 there were nearly 20 600 completed mediations; an increase of 7 per cent for mediations conducted by family counselling offices, and a decrease of 10 per cent in the concluded cases conducted by external mediators. The increase in case volume among family counselling offices resulted in longer waiting times from mediation application to the first session.

A total of 20 550 mediations were completed in 2010; an increase of two per cent from the previous year. Family offices have closed over 1 000 more cases in 2010 than the year before, while in the same period there was a decline of more than 600 cases conducted by the external mediators. Thus, 71 per cent of all the mediations in 2010 were conducted by the family offices, and 29 per cent by external mediators, compared to 67 and 33 per cent respectively the year before.

As in 2009, mediation in connection with separation or divorce accounted for the largest portion of all closed mediation cases, with 37 per cent of all mediations, and broken cohabitations accounted for 30 per cent. Disagreements between the parents about parental responsibility, place of residence and access arrangements (mediations according to the Children Act) accounted for 32 per cent of the mediations. Few cases are referred back to mediation after they have been referred to the court system; this applied to 17 mediations in 2010.

Slightly longer waiting times

In 2010, 30 per cent of the cases with external mediators started within a week, compared to 9 per cent of cases among family offices.

The largest increase in mediation cases conducted by the offices concerned those cases with more than two weeks of waiting. These cases accounted for almost half (49 per cent) of all mediation cases in 2010, compared to 45 per cent the year before. Moreover, the external mediators had the greatest reduction in cases with less than a two-week waiting period. These cases accounted for 20 per cent of all cases in 2010, compared with 23 per cent in 2009.

Family offices operate with a 3-week time limit, where the intention is that most mediation cases shall commence within three weeks from the application for mediation. A total of 39 per cent of the cases handled by family counselling offices and 9 per cent of the cases handled by external mediators had not commenced after 3 weeks, compared with 38 and 10 per cent respectively the year before.

Overall, this resulted in longer waiting times from the mediation application to the first session in 2010 than in 2009. In particular, this is due to the rise in the proportion of cases with more than a two-week waiting time by the family offices. The circumstances of the parents also influence the time it takes from parents contacting family counselling to mediation begins.

One hour mediation is the most common

In 2010, most of the mediations, a total of 63 per cent, were concluded after the one hour which is required. While 67 per cent of mediations conducted by family counselling offices were concluded after one hour, this applied to 53 per cent of mediations conducted by external mediators. Almost all the cases in 2010 were concluded within six months, and 89 per cent were completed during the first two months.

Completed mediations by external mediations authority, by type of counsellor. 2010

Less cases to external mediators

In 2010, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the concluded cases conducted by external mediators. With regard to the use of external mediators, there is great variation between counties. Over half of all cases in Aust-Agder, and nearly half of all the cases in Vestfold were conducted by external mediation services. However, in several counties, there was a marked decrease in the use of external mediators, particularly in Buskerud, Aust-Agder and Nord-Trøndelag.

In 2010 there was a decrease of 39 per cent from the year before for to the mediations conducted by employees of the Educational Psychological Counselling Service (PPT), which represents 9 per cent of all external mediators compared with 14 per cent in 2009. The largest reduction in the use of PPT was in Sør-Trøndelag, Buskerud and Akershus.

The largest proportion of mediations is conducted by employees within a social or health institution (46 per cent). The largest percentage increase we find, however, for mediations conducted by private practice lawyers and psychologists, which in 2010 accounts for 29 and 11 per cent of all completed external mediations respectively, compared with 26 and 9 per cent in 2009. With regard to private practice lawyers, Oslo and Vestfold together have 40 per cent of these cases, while the use of private practice psychologists has a more diverse county distribution.

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 mediation is a major part of the family counselling service’s work. 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 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 .