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New measures are being put in place by the government to support separating couples at the time of year when the number of people considering separation and divorce is at its peak.

The Government plans to spend an additional £10 million this year on legal aid for mediation, taking the total spent to £25 million, and want to ensure that couples who decide to separate give consideration to using the process. In recent years a greater number 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 a judge taking the final decisions

According to the Ministry of Justice the average cost of resolving property and financial disputes as a result of separation is in the region of £500 through mediation for a publicly funded client. This can be compared to £4,000 for issues settled through the court system In addition; the average time for a mediated case is 110 days compared to 435 days for non-mediated cases. What a difference!

Family Justice Minister Lord McNally said:

‘The benefits of mediation are clear – it is quicker, cheaper and leads to better outcomes. That is why we are introducing new laws – which will require couples to attend a mediation information assessment meeting first – to find out more and consider whether it is suitable for them.”