Proposed Change ‘Will Ensure Separating Couples Consider Mediation’

Government Reiterates Plans Featured In Children and Families Bill

08.01.2014

The government has emphasised the importance of its proposed introduction of changes designed to ensure separating parents and couples always consider mediation before heading to the courts to finalise the terms of a divorce.

Included in the Children and Families Bill, the changes will mean a person who wants to apply for a court order about a matter related to children or finances would have to first attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM).

The concept of mediation allows couples to hold discussions in the presence of a trained mediator which will see them finalise agreements between each other, rather than having such terms decided in court. They can then ask a court to review and make any agreements legally binding.

Simon Hughes, Family Justice Minister, said the aim was to ensure fewer separating couples are going through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.

He added: “When people separate we want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them.”

According to the government, the remaining stages of the Children and Families Bill are expected to be completed in early 2014.