Divorcees Shun Government Policy On ‘Compulsory’ Mediation Meetings

Family Law Experts Highlight The Benefits Of Mediation

11.04.2016

Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

New figures show that a landmark regulation, aimed at promoting mediation as the preferred way of settling disputes over parenting, finance and property has failed.

Family law experts from Irwin Mitchell have highlighted the importance of holistic practices, such as mediation, when it comes to couples separating.

In April 2014 the Children and Families Act placed a statutory requirement on applicants in relevant family proceedings to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before making an application for divorce proceedings to the court, unless there was an exemption.

Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice, by National Family Mediation, show that in 2014/15 only one in 20 applications for private law proceedings to a family court followed the new ‘compulsory’ route - fewer than 5,000 MIAMs out of over 112,000 private law applications. 

The ‘traditional’ route for divorce centred around the court room and saw family law judges making decisions on behalf of spouses.

Mediation enables families to take have greater control over the division of their assets and arrangements regarding children, rather than handing it over to the courts.

Partner Alison Hawes from Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Family Law team, which provides support to couples going through separation, said that couples should be encouraged to use mediation.

Expert Opinion
Divorce is never an easy process for couples to go through, especially when there are children involved, and many people wrongly assume they have no choice other than an emotionally draining and costly battle in court to finalise arrangements.

Mediation is one of several options that people can consider for a more holistic approach to divorce and spares all parties, especially children, the trauma, stress and cost associated with a court battle.

The benefit of seeing a specialist family lawyer before a couple has reached court proceedings, when emotions can be understandably high, is that they can have the range of options open to them fully explained, including mediation and collaborative law.

Mediation gives separating couples the chance to sit down with trained and qualified mediators to carefully work through exactly how they both want the key issues in their lives handled.”
Alison Hawes, Partner

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Family Law.