Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, Extended by Government!
- AuthorAndrea Chrysostomou
What is family mediation?
Essentially, family mediation is a procedure whereby a mediator assists spouses to reach a fair arrangement with one another where property, finance and children are concerned. The mediator encourages both individuals to overcome disagreements whilst finding solutions which allow both parties to benefit from. Ordinarily, a family mediation session is privately funded, unless one of the parties is eligible for legal aid.
The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme and its function.
The family mediation voucher scheme was sought to support the family court during Covid-19. It aimed to encourage individuals to consider mediation as an alternative method of resolving their disputes, where it was deemed appropriate. Therefore, a £500 voucher was contributed by the Government towards the overall costs of mediation.
The Government extends the mediation voucher scheme
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now extended the voucher scheme by an additional £800,000! As the scheme was introduced as a response to Covid-19 to assist the family law court, it was therefore expected to end in August 2021.
However, whilst the scheme was set to end in August, the MoJ has now confirmed a further £800,000 will be awarded to the scheme. This almost doubles the £1 million contribution initially made earlier in March this year, in turn aiding approximately 2,000 more families.
The MoJ has confirmed that the scheme has benefitted hundreds of families, with roughly 130 vouchers being used on a weekly basis. The Family Mediation Council (FMC) runs this scheme and have demonstrated that three-quarters of those who have used it have successfully reached full or partial agreement on their disputes.
Courts Minister, Lord Wolfson QC quoted:
‘Hundreds of separating couples have already benefitted from this scheme – resolving their disputes without the need for an often lengthy, costly and emotionally taxing court process.’
Jane Kerr, an FMC Accredited Mediator said:
‘Two cases I have worked on over the last few months have concluded successfully with positive progress and outcomes for their children. They were clear examples of families who were in crisis, amid messy separations and who left mediation on a firmer footing with regards to their co-parenting relationship and having worked out practical arrangements.’