The Children and Families Bill, currently going through parliament, is seeking for it to become law as opposed to procedural protocol for an Applicant in family proceedings concerning children to show that they have considered family mediation before going to court. In practice, this means attending a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAMS meeting).
For couples, resolving disputes via family mediation could and should ensure a speedier and less expensive formal separation. Ministry of Justice statistics show that the speed of agreeing terms for a separation where mediation is used is 110 days, compared with 435 days for agreements made without the help of mediation. As for cost, according to the same statistics, the average cost of an agreement via mediation is £800 per couple, compared with £5000 per person without. And of course, Legal Aid may have been cut for most family law cases, but it is still available for family mediation.
However, there are concerns from mediators that the new law will not actually have the desired result of keeping couples out of court. In practice, only one party will have to attend a MIAMs meeting and the other party is still free not to explore mediation.
Resolution carried out a survey in November last year showing that only half of the people they surveyed would consider mediation as a good alternative to going to court, and only a quarter believe that divorcing out of court would protect the rights of both parties. Read the results of the survey here: http://www.resolution.org.uk/news-list.asp?page_id=228&page=1&n_id=208
Many people, both separating couples and professionals in the legal and advice sectors, remain wary of family mediation being a suitable alternative to court. At Aurora Family Mediation we are totally client focussed and see ourselves as an approachable service for solicitors and other professionals as well as clients to ask whatever practical questions they would like to about how we operate. It is also really important to us that clients feel they have an idea of what to expect from our family mediation service.
At Aurora, we know family mediation works and we see the positive results week after week. Please call us if you would like more information about family mediation on 07551 909509
Watch Resolution’s video Divorcing or Separating: there is a better way here: http://www.resolution.org.uk/
Aurora Family Mediation