Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator helps parties work out arrangements for children and finances following separation. Mediation can also be helpful when previous child arrangements need to change, particularly as children grow up.
Mediation can help with lots of things when people split up, such as:-
- Interim plans or looking at a budget together
- making arrangements for children
- sort out maintenance
- looking at housing
- splitting savings, pensions or things like that
- talking about debt
- helping grandparents keep relationships with their grandchildren
- and much more.
You can mediate about any issue that affects you and your family.
The earlier mediators are brought into a dispute, the better chance there is of the parties maintaining an amicable relationship during and after its resolution. But you can still start mediation even if you are already in court proceedings.
Sometimes mediation can be free if you qualify for Legal Aid. However, on 26th March 2021, the government announced that it is investing £1m in family mediation, to support families to resolve issues relating to children. Under the scheme, the Ministry of Justice will provide contributions of up to £500 per family, to resolve issues relating to children following parental separation. Mediation will be provided by Family Mediation Council Accredited (FMCA) mediators and the fund will reduce the costs of mediation for at least 2000 families.
The voucher will be deducted from your overall bill, up to a total of £500.
You may be eligible for the scheme – the mediators have to apply for a voucher on a case by case basis. You will have to provide your consent for them to apply for the voucher.
You also have to agree to complete a form at the end, so that the Ministry of Justice can evaluate the scheme. This may lead to more funding in the future, so although it is optional, you would be encouraged you to complete it when asked.
Katharine Hetzel, Biscoes’ specialist collaborative lawyer, spoke to Claire Webb at Mediation Now, one such local mediation service who offer this new scheme.
Contact Katharine for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Webb at www.mediation-now.co.uk