More divorcing parents seeking mediation
New figures show that more divorcing couples are seeking mediation to resolve their issues and avoid going to court.
National Family Mediation, the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales, has reported that calls to their helpline have doubled over the last year. In the first half of 2015, they have already taken 3,400 calls, compared to 1,600 calls in the first half of 2014.
This increase in activity seems to tie in with statistics from Cafcass, the organisation that represents children in family law cases. Cafcass reported that new private law divorce cases fell by almost a third to 34,218 between April 2014 and March 2015.
Jane Robey, chief executive of National Family Mediation, has suggested that the government’s policy to use mediation as a way of avoiding expensive court battles may be seeing some success. She said:
“Couples are increasingly self-researching their options, and this is reflected in the huge increase in calls to dispute resolution specialists on our 0300 4000 636 telephone helpline.
“Our experience tells us people are cogitating, calculating and considering their next move. Our experts are helping more families in crisis than ever before and it’s a challenge to meet the soaring demand.”
Legal aid has not been available for the majority of divorce cases since 2013, and mediation has yet to rise to the levels it was at before these changes were made. In 2012-13, there were 13,609 new mediation cases started, compared to 8,035 in 2014-15. However, mediation does now seem to be on the rise again.
National Family Mediation report an 80% success rate in helping separating couples reach a full agreement on parenting, finances and living arrangements without the need to go to trial.