Government pledges £10 million in additional funding for divorce mediation
Family Justice Minister Lord McNally has pledged an additional £10 million in funding for divorce mediation services .
The additional funding will bring the total spent over 2013 to £25 million.
Lord McNally said:
“All too often money is wasted on expensive and traumatic court hearings that can take far too long to resolve – and that is why we want to help people to use mediation, a quicker and simpler approach which brings better outcomes.”
According to the Ministry of Justice, the average cost of resolving property and finance issues in divorce proceedings through mediation is just £500 for clients receiving public funding, but £4,000 in the courts.
The additional funding follows the introduction of new regulations in April 2011 for most people planning to go to court for parenting disputes or financial issues following the end of a relationship. They are required to attend a ‘Mediation Information Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM) in order to discuss the benefits and decide whether or not mediation would be appropriate to their situation.
There are exceptions. MIAMS are not required where:
*Both parties are already in agreement.
*No notice of court action has been given to the other person involved.
*There has been an allegation of domestic violence, and there has been a police investigation or court proceedings in relation to this.
*One of the parties is bankrupt where the family dispute involves money or financial issues.
*The whereabouts of the other person is unknown or they cannot be contacted.
*Court action is urgent, because there is a risk to life, liberty or physical safety; or because the delay caused by a MIAM would cause significant risk to a child or a significant risk of a miscarriage of justice, unreasonable hardship or serious problems in dealing with the dispute (for example, the loss of significant evidence).
*Social services are involved due to child protection concerns or issues.
*A child would be a participant in the possible court proceedings.
*The person planning the court action or their legal representative has contacted three family mediators within 15 miles of the person’s home and none have been available to conduct a MIAM within 15 days of being contacted.
What do I think? I think £10 million is not a lot of money. As regular readers of this blog will know, I have great reservations about the government’s current determination to push family mediation. The courts offer certainty, mediation does not.
The government knows how badly overcrowded are the courts have become and how overworked most judges now are. They have effectively abolished legal aid so of course they are now pushing people into mediation as a cheap stopgap. But mediation is not and cannot be a complete solution, just a small sticking plaster over a gaping wound.
Photo by Wonderlane via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
Share this post
Get free family law updates
Marilyn Stowe’s new book: expert advice on all aspects of divorce, from just 99p!
Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner. Read more >>
"A must buy that really opens your eyes to what is involved if you are considering or going through a divorce." - Amanda Brown
"This will answer your questions in a way that non-lawyers can understand." - Miss P.
"Don't get divorced without it. I read this book despite being divorced for more than 10 years. I wish I'd had this book to hand at the time. Great examples, simple to read and understand." - Jamie
"This really has helped me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will come out of it a stronger person." - J
Marilyn Stowe on SKY News & ITV This Morning
- Nick on Divorce, joint tenancy and how to prepare for the unexpected
- Emma on Divorce, joint tenancy and how to prepare for the unexpected
- Andrew on Boy taken from his mother after she feeds him 9 litres of goat’s milk a day
- Name Witheld on Divorce, joint tenancy and how to prepare for the unexpected
- JamesB on The importance of talking to one another by John Bolch
Subscribe & Follow
In the Media
Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
Contact Stowe Family Law
These downloads accompany Marilyn Stowe's latest book: Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer. After opening, right click to save to your computer.
For more free downloads, visit the Downloads section.