– how divorcing and separating couples have missed out on £18m help with legal fees
In 2013/14, the UK government earmarked an additional £10 million pounds to help families use mediation services to resolve the disputes arising upon divorce or separation. The thinking was, and remains, that many families are far better served by resolving such disputes out of court, with the help of specially trained professional mediators, rather than going through the court system.
As a result, anyone who wanted to issue an application at court to resolve disputes relating to their children or matrimonial finances would have to first attend a meeting with a mediator. The mediator would then provide them with information about all of the processes available to them.
In a classic case of the `Law of unintended consequences’ the extra £10m in financing this initiative was never used.
It was never even touched.
The cost to the government of providing mediation services to separating couples or individuals in 2013/14 reduced by £8m instead, leaving a total surplus of £18 million pounds.
The reasons for this are set out in the report, HERE, prepared by the Mediation Task Force. The report is fairly brief and well written. Its purpose is to turn about this decline in the uptake of mediation services and it makes several technical and funding policy recommendations to that end which are beyond the scope of this article.
Legal aid and help is available for families going through divorce and separation
Instead, our goal here is to make it clear that help is available for couples who are thinking about or going through separation or divorce.
Many people are choosing to resolve their separations and the conflicts that arise without any assistance. The courts are becoming filled with individuals who are making applications for children or financial orders without knowing how to go about it and sometimes getting into difficulties when they do.
If you are anxious about court proceedings or how you are going to pay for mediation fees then rest assured – despite all of the noise about the cuts in legal aid for family law, legal aid is still available for mediation.
How can we help you?
Family Law in Partnership are an award winning team of divorce lawyers and mediators based in Covent Garden in London. Dominic Raeside, divorce and family mediator with Family Law in Partnership is, in fact, a member of the task force that has written the report released earlier this week.
If you are going through divorce or separation, or of you know somebody who is, then think about using mediation. It can save you time, money and help you to reach an agreement without having to put your family and marriage through contested court proceedings.
What is more, mediation is not only for legally aided cases. Most private paying and high net worth cases can also be resolved using mediation or other non-court based resolution processes.
Contact us today and let us help you to work things out.
You can email us, confidentially, at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone and ask to speak to either one of our divorce lawyers or mediators on 020 7420 5000.