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Divorce – Compulsory Mediation? by Kitsons Solicitors

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 18:58 20 February 2013

Divorce – Compulsory Mediation? by Kitsons Solicitors

Divorce – Compulsory Mediation? by Kitsons Solicitors

24 February 2011 - Family mediation to resolve disputes between separating couples about finances, property and children has been around for the last 20 years at least. With one or two exceptions,

24 February 2011 - Family mediation to resolve disputes between separating couples about finances, property and children has been around for the last 20 years at least. With one or two exceptions, as a pre-condition to getting State help with divorce known commonly as Legal Aid or public funding - it has been necessary to undertake at least an attendance at family mediation before embarking on a court application. Now the Government has said that from 6th April this year, all separating couples must try to resolve their disputes through mediation before starting court proceedings.

Is this a good thing? Yes, I believe so, but it is not a universal panacea.

At their most basic, disputes usually arise because couple cannot or will not communicate with one another. Now, all separating couples are going to be compelled to try at least to communicate with the help of a trained family mediator. Mediation is not the answer to all disputes by any means and sometimes only a judge resolve disputes but at least with mediation, the parties can avoid a lot of cost, rancour and tension and if they achieve a settlement with the help of mediation, it is one that they have worked out themselves and hence own the same.

The Governments announcement is coupled with the decision to remove Legal Aid funding for property and financial disputes and those relating to children save where there is domestic violence involved or child care proceedings public law cases. This too will increase pressure upon couples to seek to resolve their disputes using mediation.

Where public finances are under scrutiny from a cash strapped state, it is not surprising that the public funding of such disputes is being withdrawn in some areas and restricted in others. It remains to be seen how this will work out but I am reasonably optimistic. Where there is no possibility of mediation working however, there is no substitute for good legal advice from a specialist solicitor.

For more information contact Jeremy on 01626 203366 or alternatively you can e-mail him at jeremy.howell@kitsons-solicitors.co.uk.

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