Mediation made easier for separating parties

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The Government has been very keen to promote mediation services for separating couples or parents, to try and resolve their differences and reach an agreement without needing to resort to court action. Now, National Family Mediation (NFM), the largest provider of Family Mediation in England and Wales, is reporting that from 3 November 2014 a new government scheme will fund a free mediation session for both people involved in a separation even if just one qualifies for legal aid.

Previously, only the person who qualified for legal aid could obtain mediation for free. However, mediators across the country have seen how this imbalance of power can disrupt mediation from the outset as the other party is forced to pay for the session. By removing this element and giving more people the opportunity to have a free session, the Government is hopeful more people will continue to use the mediation scheme rather than resorting to court.

NFM’s Chief Executive Jane Robey says:

“Separating people are often reluctant to pay for family mediation, especially so when they know the other person – their ex – is getting it for free. They rarely understand exactly what they will be paying for and, since mediation is usually an unknown quantity, they are unsure it will work.

“Getting people into the mediation room with open minds can be amongst the biggest challenges. Confidence in a previously-unknown process usually blossoms as people begin to understand and accept the potential of family mediation to help them shape their family’s future in an affordable way and with agreements being reached in seven out of ten cases that is proof enough that mediation works.”

More information can be obtained from the NFM’s website by clicking here. However it is always wise for anyone considering mediation to also seek independent legal advice as to their position and their rights.

Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.

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