How families will benefit from the Government’s mediation boost

3 September 2021 | Written by Jones Myers

By Nicki Mitchell, Mediator and Collaborative Family Lawyer

As a niche family law firm committed to helping separating couples find solutions that avoid going to Court, we welcome the Government’s latest financial support for publicly funded family mediation.

The £800k cash boost – part of a £1m voucher scheme launched in March – will give 2,000 more families vouchers of up to £500 for mediation which can avoid a costly, contentious and lengthy Court dispute.  

Those eligible are looking to resolve private law or financial matters relating to children such as child arrangement orders or financial disputes.

Here’s how mediation works – and its wide-ranging benefits:  

Irrespective of whether I qualify for the scheme, why should I consider mediation?

Mediation can help separating couples find a way forward in a constructive and positive manner which prioritises the well being of children and helps the long-term interests of those involved in the break up. 

What’s the difference between litigation and mediation?

Going to court (litigation) can be confrontational, expensive and, potentially, public. It can sometimes take over a year and the Covid-19 pandemic has made the process even longer. 

If you can’t agree, a judge, who doesn’t know you, your spouse or your children, decides how your financial assets will be divided and/or how much time you will spend with your children. Their decision is legally binding.

In mediation, a qualified Mediator like me can help you to discuss issues confidentially and find workable agreements more quickly and cost effectively.  

Both of you sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate’ so negotiations can continue on a ‘without prejudice’ basis.  

What are the benefits of mediation? 

Mediation gives you control over your divorce – you don’t have a judge making critical decisions about your finances and children.

Saving you time and money, it can be completed in several meetings over a few months or, in some case, weeks.     

As a more impartial, considered and confidential approach, mediation can also lessen the emotional impact of separation and divorce on children.

Which divorce scenarios are best suited to mediation?

Most situations, including the most financially complex.

Are there cases where mediation is not appropriate?

Yes, usually in cases of domestic abuse.  

What is a successful outcome? 

Reaching agreed arrangements which can be approved on paper by a Judge and made legally binding.  Along with speed and cost, mediation helps to minimise the damaging fallout from a separation, enabling both parties and their children to move forward.  

Jones Myers expert mediators can assist you in this non-confrontational option which keeps communication channels open for many divorcing couples.

To find out if you qualify for the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, visit  Family Mediation Voucher Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For more information on mediation or other family law issues, call our Leeds office 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office 01423 276104, or our York office on 01904 202550. Visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

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