I am delighted to let you know that the Government has recently (26th March 2021), announced that it is investing £1m in family mediation, to support families to resolve issues relating to children.
Under the scheme, the Ministry of Justice will provide contributions of up to £500 per family, to resolve issues relating to children following parental separation. Mediation will be provided by Family Mediation Council Accredited (FMCA) mediators and it is expected that the fund will reduce the costs of mediation for at least 2,000 families.
John Taylor, Chair of the Family Mediation Council said ‘This government investment in mediation is much welcomed by the Family Mediation Council. It will help separated families agree solutions that are best for their children, taking into account what is going to be important for them as they grow up. Family mediation is a proven cost-effective way to resolve differences following separation. This voucher scheme will make it even more accessible, and will help families resolve issues for themselves, without having to go to court.’
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 this 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 offering 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.