I am so pleased to hear that the Ministry of Justice has made a further £800,000 available to the Family Mediation Council to distribute in family mediation vouchers. This extends the scheme initially launched in March this year which means that more eligible couples can benefit.
The scheme enables couples who wish to mediate regarding their children a voucher of up to £500 towards their mediation costs. It does not cover mediations solely focused on financial matters.
I have found that clients have really benefitted from the scheme. Asking parents to work together when emotions are running high is tough but the alternative of a court process is sadly, far more damaging. Persevering through difficult discussions (provided of course they are safe and supported) is key to helping parents make the best possible decisions for children in the situation they find themselves in.
Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator helps parents 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.
I welcome the extension to this valuable scheme. Although mediation is cost effective, it still requires a financial commitment and for some, this is a barrier to accessing mediation and therefore opening up an opportunity for parents to communicate better, avoid ongoing conflict which we know is damaging, emotionally and physically for children and parents and ultimately work in the best interests of their children. Further information about the scheme is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/family-mediation-voucher-scheme
Do get in touch with me if you would like to find out more and consider if you may be eligible for the voucher scheme which will help with the costs of mediation. I will be continuing to offer this and really hope that the scheme enables more families to access mediation and to see the long term value of mediation. You will first need to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (sometimes referred to as a MIAM) to consider whether mediation will be suitable. My charge for this initial meeting is £130 per person.
I look forward to hearing from you to see if I can help.