It’s not all about court – mediation means fall in private family court proceedings
Instead of heading straight off to court to settle their divorce, separating couples are now cogitating, calculating and considering all their options much more carefully. National Family Mediation (NFM) is one of the largest providers of family mediation in England and Wales. Staff in this organisation have reported that calls to their telephone helpline from separated parties have more than doubled in the last year.
The number of new private law cases on family matters has fallen by a third between April 2014 and March 2015. During this same period NFM took an average of over 3,400 calls in each month from January and June 2015, up from 1,600 calls each month during the same period in 2014.
Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation, says: “The cuts to legal aid mean the routes separating couples are taking as they try to reach settlements are becoming more convoluted. It may be that the government’s policy, to divert people away from the legal process to mediate instead, is actually beginning to work. Couples are increasingly self-researching their options, and this is reflected in the huge increase in calls to dispute resolution specialists.”
For anyone separating or considering divorce, it’s important to also obtain legal advice and talk through all the options available. Mediation is one of many routes parties can take to resolve any outstanding issues, and seeking legal advice from the outset can allow parties to choose a route that’s right for them.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in our Family team.