The government have launched a new voucher scheme to aid parents attempting to resolve family disputes through mediation.
Who is a Mediator and what is their role?
A mediator is an impartial person whose aim is to help parents or those with parental responsibility resolve matters amicably and reach an agreement through mediation.
Mediation is an intervention process attended by parties in an attempt to reach a consensus on their dispute. In normal times this would be in person, mediators have adapted to the current pandemic and offer virtual sessions.
Parties are always encouraged to attended mediation even where it is hard to do so. It is in some cases cost effective and it produces positive results. It is quicker than court action but initiating court proceedings is always an option where meditation fails.
However, like with every system, mediation is not always successful. Nonetheless you should attempt to mediate prior to commencing court proceedings unless exempt.
Mediation voucher scheme
The Government has introduced a time-limited family mediation voucher scheme to help parties with their costs when accessing mediation with a contribution of up to £500.00 to eligible parties. The voucher is only available for a limited time and as a one off contribution per eligible family for the duration of the scheme.
Am I eligible for the scheme?
During the meeting with the mediator, they will carry out an assessment on the issues which parties wish to mediate to ascertain eligibility.
Generally, parties seeking to mediate on matters relating to children can qualify under the scheme. This also relates to matters where the dispute is on family financial matters but also involve a dispute or application relating to children.
If parties qualify and agree to mediate, the mediator will make the application for the voucher at the end of the process and the funds are payable directly to them. However, where the cost of mediation is more than the government contribution of £500.00, parties will be expected to meet the difference.