A new mediation scheme to help separating parents resolve their difficulties amicably and away from the courtroom has been welcomed by Wards Solicitors’ Family Law and Divorce team.
The government initiative, designed to alleviate pressure on the family courts already struggling due to the pandemic, will enable 2,000 families to apply for a £500 voucher towards the cost of mediation.
Recent research by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) suggests that more than 70% of couples using mediation services resolve their issues without ending up in court.
What is family mediation?
Here at Wards Solicitors, we have long supported Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including mediation, which can play a key role in reaching an amicable settlement and avoiding the stress and expense of having to go to court.
Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained and accredited mediator can help parties work out arrangements for children and finances where there is disagreement following separation.
It involves couples working through their differences to reach agreements they are both prepared to accept in a bid to spare them the trauma of attending court and the impact this can have on children.
The government says the new voucher scheme is part of its plan to reduce family conflict, alongside the introduction of its ‘no fault’ divorce laws, set to be introduced later this year.
Who can apply for a mediation voucher?
The scheme, which went live on 1 April 2021, is available to families seeking to resolve private law or financial matters relating to children – for example, child arrangement orders or financial disputes regarding a child’s upbringing.
If a case is eligible for vouchers, the mediator will automatically claim back the contributions from the government.
It will be run by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
Get in touch
The number of couples contemplating divorce has increased during the pandemic according to statistics from several different sources, including Citizens Advice.
If you are considering separation, we can explain the options relating to mediation as well as issues like who the children will live with, how their time will be divided between parents and how financial support for them will be organised.
We have a team of seven Family and Divorce Law specialist solicitors ready to help and 13 local offices across the Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset and North Somerset region
Click here to book an initial meeting.
We also have a range of fixed-fee packages we can discuss with you at your meeting.
For further information and advice, please contact any member of our Family and Divorce Law team