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Have the first 3 years of the Mediation Voucher Scheme been a success?

Launched in March 2021, the Mediation Voucher Scheme was introduced to encourage separating couples to explore mediation as opposed to immediately defaulting to court proceedings.

Each Family Mediation Voucher is worth £500.  The voucher helps families cover the cost of  mediation., Mediation allows a couple to better address the childcare and financial concerns at the heart of the separation  with the help of an independent but professional accredited mediator.  The mediator works with the couple to achieve solutions  on the key issues of the separation.

The scheme has been a success.

Thanks to the £23.6m the government has invested in making the vouchers available for eligible couples, more than 27,000 separating families have saved money, protected their children, and avoided lengthy, combative courtroom battles.  These were the government’s primary objectives when they launched this initiative.

Anna Vollans, chair of the Family Mediators Association and a mediator with more than 10 years’ experience feels the first 3 years of the Mediation Voucher Scheme have definitely been a success:

“The vouchers are incredibly positive, because they allow people to try mediation who would never have considered it before which is game-changing. Most are surprised to discover they can reach a resolution in just a few sessions and can leave with clear parenting and financial plans and the confidence to make it work, without the need for lawyers or courts. It’s been a great success.”

Why should you consider family mediation?

Family mediation may be new to you.  However, it can often provide a more effective way to reach the decisions about arrangements for children or the division of assets in a less adversarial setting and with the assistance of an independent professional.

The benefits of the mediation process include:

  • Mediation; can reduce the hostility that all too often arises in court and can foster a more amicable relationship going forward.  This is of particular value if children are involved.
  • Mediators will prioritise the needs and best interest of the children involve.  This can easily be missed if the parents are allowed to focus solely on their own interests.
  • You keep control. You reach the agreement with your partner rather than having to accept a judge’s ruling.
  • Mediation encourages a greater degree of flexibility and creativity in terms of finding the best outcome.
  • Mediation tends to be more cost-effective than going to court as it can save the couple from having to cover the ongoing legal fees and expenses associated with formal legal proceedings.
  • It can be quicker than going to court. With a trained mediator, many disputes can be settled in several sessions as opposed to what could be months or even years in court.
  • Mediation is totally confidential unlike court where the details of the case enter the public domain as a matter of record.

How do I apply for family mediation voucher?

First you will need to attend an initial Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).  A MIAM is a pre-mediation meeting between you and a mediator in which they will explain more about mediation and explore whether it could be helpful in terms of finding the best way to progress your separation or whether is not suitable.

If it is felt mediation is suitable, the mediator will assess whether you are eligible for the voucher scheme as not all cases are eligible.  Eligibility for a voucher will depend on:

  • Whether there is a dispute or potential application involving a child
  • Whether there is a dispute or potential application regarding your family’s finances if you are also involved in a dispute/application relating to a child

If you decide to begin mediation and are eligible for a voucher, your mediator will make the application on your behalf.

If you would like to find out more about the mediation process, please contact our experienced family mediators today Bernadette Hoy and Aisling Collins.  We can answer any questions you have and, if you’d like us to, arrange your initial Mediation Information Assessment Meeting.