The government is encouraging divorcing couples to settle the issues surrounding their separation using mediation rather than by going to court under new rules that have just come into force. Sandra Meakins, a Partner, Collaborative Lawyer and Family Mediator at Kidd Rapinet’s Farnham office said, “These reforms mark a significant moment for the family justice system and are aimed at reducing both the potential for conflict and also the time taken to settle the divorce”.
The Ministry of Justice reforms, which were implemented on 22 April 2014, see the introduction of compulsory family mediation information meetings so that separating couples must consider alternatives to potentially harmful and stressful court battles when resolving financial matters and arrangements for child contact. This is not to say that couples will be required to mediate, or that mediation is appropriate in all cases, but rather that they must now consider this as an option. That said, recent Ministry of Justice figures show that mediation was used successfully in 73% of cases in a sample period and that more than 17,000 people used mediation to settle their divorce in 2012/13.
Sandra Meakins comments “We want to keep families away from the negative effects that going to court can have and to use alternative solutions when they are suitable; especially when there are children involved. When mediation is appropriate it can make the process simpler, quicker and less stressful to all concerned”.
If you would like assistance in relation to family matters, call the contact for your local Kidd Rapinet office for further information:
- Aylesbury: Mark Studdart (01296 432541)
- Farnham: Sandra Meakins (01252 713242)
- High Wycombe: Catherine Banks (01494 535321)
- London: Richard Tymkiw (020 7024 8065)
- Maidenhead: Kathryn Coyle (01628 621301)
- Slough: Nathalie Wespieser (01753 532541)