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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Mediation is the process whereby an independent trained mediator help parties reach a solution when there is a dispute regarding children or finances. Mediation helps parties come up with their own solution and avoid the court system. Solicitors can also be mediators, and our Simon Craddock (Partner in the Children Team) is also a qualified mediator.
The Government has opted to invest a further £1.3 million into family mediation, by creating a time-limited voucher scheme. Eligible parties can take advantage of the mediation voucher scheme, and eligible, parties will be entitled to £500 per family towards the costs of mediation.
The mediation voucher scheme is only available to disputes regarding children, but it can also apply to financial disputes if parties are also involved in disputes over children.
To be eligible for the mediation voucher scheme you must first attend a MIAM appointment. The mediator will assess the issues and determine whether the matter is suitable for mediation. It is important to note that mediation will only work when both parties agree to part take. If the mediator deems your matter to be appropriate for mediation you will be awarded the voucher.
The scheme is already in place and 4,400 vouchers have already been used, 77% percent of cases have reach whole or partial agreements away from family courts. More details can be found here about the voucher scheme.
Agreements reached at Mediation are not legally binding in themself, however agreements can be formalised in a Consent Order if it is felt necessary. This then creates a legally binding agreement, and enables it to be enforced if one party breaches it.