The Ministry of Justice have introduced a new Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, which means that separating couples can get a £500 voucher to put towards mediation.
The Scheme launched on 26th March 2021 and encourages families who are going through separation to sort their child care arrangements out outside of the Family Court.
The £500 voucher is for mediation to resolve child arrangement disputes or cases where there are financial issues running alongside a child arrangement dispute.
We’re pleased that HM Government decided to launch this scheme after what has been a financially challenging year for so many families. And our Family Law Solicitors hope that more families can now access mediation services and can get professional help to settle disputes amicably.
Family Mediation Voucher Scheme Explained
Here’s everything you need to know about the new voucher scheme:
What is Mediation?
Mediation is where you and your former partner sit down with a mediator and discuss your family issues to help you come to an agreement. You don’t have to go to mediation if you’re separating, but if your divorce issues go to Court, you’ll have to prove you’ve tried mediation to resolve your disagreements first.
How the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme Works
The £500 payment will be made directly to your mediation provider. The mediators need to make a request to use the voucher scheme, so before you choose which mediator to go to you should check that they’ve applied for the scheme.
One of our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors can help you find a mediator to help with your family issues or separation.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
Mediation costs will change depending on where you live in England or Wales, but it will always be a cheaper option than going to Court. You can contact different mediators to compare the price, and a Divorce Solicitor can advise you on who might be best one of those mediators to use.
If your mediation costs less than £500 the voucher will cover your mediation costs, but if it costs more than this, then you will have to pay the difference over £500. The voucher is for both you and your former partner, you don’t get £500 each, so if your mediation costs more than this you’ll be responsible for splitting the remaining costs.
If you’re on a low income you might be eligible for Legal Aid, but it’s best to get expert legal advice if you think this might be the case for you.
Am I Eligible for the £500 Mediation Voucher?
You’re only eligible for the mediation voucher if your dispute is about child arrangements. If you’re getting a divorce and you don’t have any children, then you won’t be eligible for the voucher.
If you’re hoping to resolve child care disputes and financial disputes in the same mediation information assessment meeting (MIAM), then you can use the £500 voucher towards it.
What if We Can’t Reach an Agreement through Mediation?
If mediation doesn’t help with your family disputes, you can get help from one of our Family Law Solicitors.
We have years of experience in diffusing tension in divorce and family issues and some of our Divorce Solicitors are members of Resolution, which means we’re experts at resolving conflict between separating couples.
We can help you and your former partner come to an agreement without going to Court. But if things go further than this, we can apply to the Family Court for you and represent you in Court if you need us to.
We know how hard separation can be, especially if you’re worried about the costs of divorce. We will work with you and advise you based on your budget. Get in touch for expert legal advice today.
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