Published: 19 September 2014
Nationwide family mediation service provider 'National Family Mediation' have revealed that there has been a significant increase in the number of couples opting to go to family mediation sessions from 1 January to 30th June 2014 - and a further increase is expected throughout the rest of the year.
Changes to government legislation in April 22nd 2014 saw an amendment to the Children and Families Act, which means that family mediation is now compulsory for separating couples before they can apply for a court order.
Chief Executive of National Family Mediation, Jane Robey, said: "Whilst family mediation services nationwide suffered a downturn in 2013 after the Government overhauled legal aid, the signs for the profession are positive in the first half of 2014.
"The picture varies across the country, but in a number of our service areas, increases of 30 to 40 per cent in numbers of people attending mediation, compared with the same period in 2013, are common.
"There is no doubt a greater proportion of people are reaching agreements through mediation, realising they can successfully settle family matters in an affordable way.
"Yet whilst it's clear the change in the law effective from April has signalled an upturn, family mediation is not yet out of the woods. Our mediators and managers will continue working tirelessly to show the value of mediation, which is quicker, less stressful and usually cheaper than going to court."
With the removal of legal aid from family law cases and with recent figures showing that more and more people are representing themselves in court because they can't afford legal services, family mediation now plays a significant role in modern family law.
Family mediation offers a flexible and often more cost-effective solution to dealing with disputes and resolving conflict. The parties involved have a greater sense of responsibility and control in resolving disputes than if they ended up in front of a judge.
By working amicably with one another, family mediation can often deliver a far more positive outcome and has less emotional impact on any children caught in the middle.
It can improve the long-term chances of cooperation in a continuing relationship (where children are involved for example) and agreements that are made can be changed should circumstances change in the future.
K J Smith Solicitors have a team of expert family mediators, trained to deal with conflict and to help resolve family disputes in a friendly and cooperative manner. For more information or to discuss your circumstances with our team, contact us today on 01491 630000 (Henley-on-Thames), 020 7070 0330 (Central London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor) or 01256 584000 (Basingstoke).