So-called compulsory meetings that couples intending to separate must attend before they can apply for a court order to divorce have been branded a failure, with fewer than one in 20 couples attending the initial meeting.
Research from National Family Mediation shows that for 2014/2015, just one in 20 applications for private law proceedings to a family court followed this route after a change in the law made attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) a prerequisite.
Jane Robey, chief executive of the charity, said the organisation initially welcomed the law change, even though they were all aware that the move would not transform divorce culture by itself.
“National Family Mediation and the mediation community alone cannot change the entrenched culture of adversarial and expensive court proceedings in divorce cases. More government support is needed to inform, educate and publicise the fact that MIAMs are compulsory in order to ensure the law is properly enforced and much more mediation is delivered,” she added.
Traditionally, people seeking a divorce would see visiting a family solicitor in Cheshire or elsewhere as the first step, followed by a visit to the court room. Mediation, however, can help people be in more control over what happens regarding children, finances and property, instead of giving full power to a family court judge.
If you’d like to find out more about mediation or court proceedings but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with us here at QualitySolicitors to see how we can help. We understand that this is a very difficult time for you and will be on hand to answer any questions you may have at this point.