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Mediation and the Voucher Scheme

by Teelan & Silwal

16 December 2021

During the recent Good Divorce Week this year, Resolution promoted its Parenting Through Separation guide. This invaluable tool can help guide parents through the difficult transition of parenting their children together to parenting their children separately. Within that guide, mediation is recommended as one way of supporting parents that are separating, or who have already separated, to reach agreement regarding their children.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process whereby an independent, trained professional will help you and your former partner to agree arrangements in respect of your children. You can create tailor made solutions that will work for your family. You can also use a mediator to help alter original agreements made if those arrangements need to change to meet the growing needs of your child. Mediation can also be used to agree arrangements in respect of financial matters following a separation.

All it takes is two willing people to commit to the process. Mediation can take place in one room, where you, your former partner and the mediator will discuss all relevant issues together. Alternatively, you can speak to the mediator separately, if you do not feel at that stage able to be communicate directly with your former partner.

Mediation can be a less stressful experience than going through the court process and will certainly be much quicker. Seeking the assistance of a mediator will also save you money rather than going through a costly court process. One of the most important benefits of mediation, however, is that it keeps you in control of the process. It should also hopefully reduce any conflict between you and your former partner, which will ultimately be of enormous benefit to your children.

Mediation Voucher Scheme

In March 2021, the Ministry of Justice established the Mediation Voucher Scheme, in response to the Covid – 19 Pandemic, to encourage people to use mediation as a way to resolve their issues, rather than rely upon the court service. This scheme has now been extended, which is great news for so many families.

So, what does the voucher scheme provide? For those families assessed as eligible, namely those families seeking to resolve issues regarding their children, you will be eligible to receive a one-off contribution of £500 as a family, towards the costs of your mediation. Your mediator will apply for the voucher on your behalf. In some cases, the cost of the voucher may be sufficient to meet all of your mediation costs. Otherwise, you will need to contribute to the remaining costs.

Although the mediation scheme has been extended, it is time limited, so when the funding that is currently in place runs out, the scheme may end, unless further Government funding is provided.

If you would like any further information about the benefits of mediation, or would like to proceed with mediation, then please contact our Rosalyn O’Donnell-Teelan, who is a qualified mediator.

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