The Family Mediation Service in Estonia

The family mediation service is intended for parents who have separated or are in the process of separating, who have at least one minor child together and who have failed to reach an agreement on matters relating to the child’s living arrangements (such as contact arrangements and maintenance). The family mediator, as a neutral party, helps the parents to exchange ideas and to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. The aim of mediation proceedings is not so much to achieve reconciliation as to reach a workable settlement.

Family mediation is quicker, more favourable and better for the mental health of the parents and is more considerate of the child’s well-being; agreements made between parents through this method are more effective than in court proceedings. Since 1 September 2022, family mediation services have also been available free of charge as a state-run service. The service is accessed by contacting the Social Insurance Board. A judge may also order a family mediation process in judicial proceedings.

According to the State-Funded Family Mediation Services Act (riikliku perelepitusteenuse seadus), a family mediator is:

A person directly conducting a conciliation procedure in a contractual relationship with the Social Insurance Board and who assists the parents (hereinafter ‘the mediation parties’) in finding a solution to a dispute concerning the living arrangements of their minor child, taking into account the best interests of the child.

Within the meaning of the Conciliation Act (lepitusseadus), a conciliator must be one of the following:

1) a natural person who has been instructed by the parties to mediate in a dispute between them (such as an expert in psychology or social issues (including child protection and social work) or a legal specialist). The mediator may act through a legal person with whom they are in an employment or other contractual relationship;

2) a barrister who has made a declaration to that effect to the board of the Estonian Bar Association;

3) a notary who has made a declaration to that effect to the Chamber of Notaries;

4) in the cases laid down in the Act, a State or local government mediation body.

Family mediation service is intended for separated or separating parents of a common minor child or children, who have not been able to agree on the child’s living arrangements. For example, in matters of communication or alimony.

Mediation service is carried out by a family mediator who, as a neutral party, helps parents mediate their thoughts and resolve differences. The family mediator has the appropriate training and professional knowledge for this particular service.

The family mediator has completed 160 hours of basic family conciliation training, has experience in counselling and has higher education in, for example, psychology, law or social work. The family mediator meets with both parents at the same time. Usually, one family mediation session lasts 90 minutes and there are usually 2-3 meetings. Sometimes it is possible to conclude an agreement with a couple of meetings, sometimes more meetings are required.

The state family mediation service is free of charge for parents. The family mediation service is offered in Estonian, Russian and English.

You can contact the family mediation service by writing to  Contact the service coordinators.

Family mediation reminder

Family mediation is voluntary.

Family mediation is a method that is quick and cost-effective for the parents, more mental health-friendly and more considerate of the child’s well-being, within the framework of which agreements between parents can be achieved more effectively than during court proceedings.

Parents are viewed as equal and the best possible solution for the child can be found.

A family mediator is a neutral mediator with professional knowledge and appropriate training.

Family mediation is not suitable for violent relationships, because the parents are not equal parties in this case. In this case. You can call the coordinator for details and for finding a service that suits you.

Family mediation offers the opportunity to make agreements outside the court and remain supportive parents even after separation.