Separating couples are being urged to use mediation instead of ending up in courtroom battles after a list of England and Wales divorce hotspots was recently revealed.
The list shows that almost 3,000 couples filed for divorce at Birmingham Court last year. This was followed by Weston-super-Mare County Court with almost 2,500 couples and Leicester County Court with over 1,800. These figures were the highest for any part of the country, outside of Greater London.
The statistics have been published as the Ministry of Justice takes steps to ensure that couples who do sadly make the decision to separate give consideration to using mediation – a quicker, simpler and more effective way of agreeing how they divide their assets or make arrangements for their children, which avoids the often divisive effect of the court room.
The Ministry of Justice has recently announced that it expects to spend £25 million to support mediation projects this year and new laws are now being created to ensure that all separating couples must consider mediation to sort out the details of their divorce, before they decide to take their dispute to the court.
Family Justice Minister Lord McNally said:
“All too often I hear stories of families going through expansive and traumatic court hearings but we know that when working out how to split assets and arrange time with the children, mediation is a far simpler and cheaper approach for everyone and leads to a better outcome.
That is why we are changing the law so that all couples seeking a Court Order about child contact or financial matters must attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting first, to find out about mediation and consider whether it is suitable for them”.
In recent years greater numbers of people have been successfully using mediation where they are helped to agree the issues between themselves rather than argue it out through lawyers with the Judge taking the final decision.
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process which provides a safe environment within which the couple have an opportunity to communicate directly with each other rather than via solicitors or across a courtroom which is extremely expensive.
Rachael Oakes who is head of the family team is a trained mediator and specialises in working with couples to help them resolve disputes so they do not need to go to court. She is qualified to conduct Mediation and Information and Assessment Meetings.
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If you are interested in mediation and would like Rachael to give you a call please either email Rachael at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to make a referral, please follow this link and complete our Mediation Referral Form.