Divorcing couples to receive financial incentive to attempt mediation
The Ministry of Justice is considering providing couples intending to divorce tax-free vouchers of approximately £500 to contribute toward the cost of mediation or arbitration.
Their idea is to ease the pressure on family courts, who in addition to a generally hectic timetable, have backlogs of administration due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood that £1 million has been set aside for up to 2,000 couples who agree to enter into the mediation process. This is an attempt to encourage couples to reach an amicable agreement when it comes to care of their children and/or reaching a financial settlement.
Reasons for creating incentives to enter mediation
The scheme is particularly targeted at couples who are ineligible for legal aid due to the stringent means and merit tests carried out.
This follows the welcomed shift in approach by bringing in ‘no-fault’ divorce in 2022, with the aim of making the whole procedure less traumatic for the family overall.
The benefits of encouraging mediation
The family department at Cunningtons LLP welcome this proposal. Whilst we continue to support our clients who are going through difficult and stressful events in their lives, we encourage open communication to assist in reducing the pain and high costs within lengthy court proceedings.
Whilst mediation can still be a challenging process, both parties are openly encouraged to set aside angry or emotive feelings for the benefit of their family.
If required, the mediation process can be undertaken on a ‘shuttle’ basis, or on-line, if parties would still rather not meet face-to-face.