Do you have to mediate?You don’t have to go to mediation at the outset of your divorce/separation proceedings. If you seek advice from a solicitor though, you will probably be advised to use mediation depending on your circumstances. If going to court to sort out your differences is the only option, you would normally need to prove that you’ve been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM): a time to explain how mediation may help you.
How much does mediation cost?Mediation isn’t free, but it is cheaper than going to court. If you want to keep costs down, it is worth trying to agree between yourselves as much as you can before commencing mediation.
Government Voucher SchemeNormally, to receive the help of £500 towards mediation was means-tested for those on low incomes. From 26 March 2021, the Government introduced a time-limited offer of the same amount to 2,000 families without a means test. This move is to help alleviate pressures on the family courts resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic. Research suggests that more than 70% of couples using mediation services resolved their issues outside of the courtroom. Courts Minister, Lord Wolfson QC, said:
“Mediation is often a quicker, cheaper and less stressful way of resolving disputes, which helps separating couples reach amicable agreements without an unnecessary and often acrimonious court process. Our new scheme will open up the benefits of these services to even more families – sparing them the stress of long legal battles, while also helping to lessen the pressure on our family courts as we recover from the pandemic.”