The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme Has Doubled in Funding

Aiming to avoid long and costly courtroom battles, the government’s family mediation voucher scheme has been more than doubled, with additional funding announced to help more families resolve their disputes away from the courts. The extra PS5.4 million investment more than doubles the amount of money that has been invested in the scheme since it was launched in March 2021 and is a clear testament to the benefits that mediation can bring to families.

The government set up the scheme in response to Covid-19 as a way of supporting recovery in family courts and encouraging people to consider mediation as a means of resolving their disputes, where appropriate. The scheme offers financial contributions up to PS500 towards the cost of mediation for people who are able to demonstrate that they are eligible. The contribution is only available for cases involving a dispute or application concerning arrangements for children. It is also only available for those who are not in receipt of legal aid. Only mediators authorised by the Family Mediation Council can participate in the scheme.

Victoria Tallis, a trainee in Thrings’ Family team, takes a look at the new scheme and what it can offer.

Aimed at helping separating couples work out their own arrangements for children without having to involve the courts, it’s been widely hailed as a success so far with around two-thirds of families who have used a voucher reaching full or partial agreements away from court. Unlike proceedings in court, the process is less stressful and can be much cheaper than fighting it out in court, not to mention confidential.

However, there is still a lot of awareness that needs to be raised and, at the moment, not everyone who could potentially benefit from the vouchers knows about it. It’s important to note that a voucher can only be offered once a couple has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) and is only valid until it expires, so it’s crucial that the vouchers are taken up.

The MIAM will discuss whether a case is suitable for mediation and the couple must agree to mediate. If both parties are unable to agree to mediate, they will not be able to use the vouchers and, in these circumstances, it’s likely that they will have to apply for legal aid instead.

For further information about the voucher scheme and to find out if your case might be eligible, speak to a member of our specialist Family mediation team, or contact Alison Bull. family mediation voucher scheme

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top