Family (or divorce) mediation aims to assist couples who are separating or divorcing to come to agreed arrangements regarding children, property and finances. In the UK it is a service which is offered as an alternative to litigation and is not, at this stage, compulsory. Family mediation is an interactional setting which combines elements of both formality and informality: in theory mediators control the process of the encounter, whilst clients control the outcome. Mediators are also charged with conducting themselves in a manner which is neutral as to outcome, and impartial as to process. In reality, of course, the language behaviours of both practitioners and clients are not so clearly delineated. This research is based upon audio recordings of mediation sessions in the North Wales Service and takes an interactional pragmatic approach. The primary analytic `tools' are the concepts of complex illocutionary acts and discourse roles as developed by Thomas (1995,2004,2006 and forthcoming). A number of topics are considered, in particular the verbal enactment of mediator impartiality and neutrality, and of power and politeness by both clients and practitioners.