In January, the Ministry of Justice announced they will invest an extra £1.27 million into the Mediation Voucher Scheme bringing the total funding to just under £3.3m since its launch in March 2021.

We welcome this positive news as the new funding will provide an additional 2,440 vouchers for mediation services, with the hope of freeing up space in the Family Courts to ensure the system can recover quickly from the pandemic.

What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation involves couples holding discussions in relation to the finances, property or children, led by an independent trained mediator to reach agreements which both are prepared to live with, rather than having them dictated by the court. Couples can then ask a court to consider and make their agreement into a legally binding, enforceable court order. Couples are strongly advised to seek their own independent legal advice during the mediation process as legal advice is not given at mediation.

It is important to remember that mediation is only an option when both parties agree to take part in it.

It is compulsory to have attempted to resolve the dispute via mediation before an application to the Court can be made, however there are exemptions, for example, mediation is not considered as appropriate if there is evidence of domestic violence.

What is the Mediation Voucher Scheme and who is eligible?

The Government will contribute £500 towards the cost of mediation. The mediator provides the service to the families who require it and claim the voucher from the government. The mediation voucher is available for the following situations:-

  1. A dispute relating to a child
  2. A dispute relating to a family financial matter where the individual is also involved in a dispute relating to a child

What are some of the benefits of Mediation?

  1. Practical way forward
  2. Less stressful than the Court
  3. Confidential
  4. Less confrontational
  5. Reduce costs
  6. In control of the outcome

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said: “I want to see children and their parents spared the stress and conflict of the courtroom as much as possible, and I’m delighted that thousands more will now have the opportunity to resolve their disputes in less combative way.”

This announcement is an indication that the government recognises that Family Law issues, particularly those involving children must be approached differently from other legal issues for example, a commercial dispute.

Visit the Family Mediation Council website and find your nearest mediator.