Evidence over the past few years shows that the first Monday of the year and the weeks following the start of the New Year is when many couples who have decided to separate seek help.
2014 will be the worst ever according to Jane Robey, Chief Executive of National Family Mediation. “The period following the festive season is always a difficult time for couples on the edge. Many people get through the tensions for the sake of the children, but then want to make a new start,” she said.
National Family Mediation reports that the financial effect on the parties in dispute about family issues can be substantial and deciding to separate can cost many thousands of pounds for both parties. When couples choose to mediate, it can cost as little as £500.
“Importantly, Legal Aid for a mediated separation is still available, which means that it might even be free if the eligibility requirements are met.
Many people are still unaware that Legal Aid still exists for people who are separating or divorcing and who meet the eligibility criteria.
Family mediation is much quicker and more cost effective than going to court. It is a voluntary and confidential process which helps couples and families who are dealing with separation or divorce to explore and agree the key details of their separation.
In Swindon mediationplus has, for over 30 years, provided a specialist service with fully qualified, experienced and professional mediators who provide a very cost effective service for separating couples, enabling them to make joint decisions about their children, finances, property and other important matters.
Jeni Burchell CEO of mediationplus said: “At mediationplus we are critically aware that many separating couples do not realise that Legal Aid is still available for anyone who uses mediation as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. If people are in any doubt about whether they qualify I would urge them to contact mediationplus.”
Mediation Practice Manager Trevor Morkham adds: “Family breakdown is very stressful for everyone involved. Separating can have wide ranging effects on the whole family including emotional distress, adjusting to significant changes of familiar routines, the negative effect on family finances and the often profound effects of separation on children.
At mediationplus we are concerned to ensure that separating couples have access to Legal Aid funding if they meet the criteria, and many of our clients do. Mediation can save time and money compared to battling through the courts and is far less distressing for everyone involved – especially the children”
Even if clients are not eligible for Legal Aid, our rates are highly competitive
For further information about Family Mediation or to arrange an appointment please contact mediationplus on 01793 527285.
The main office is in Swindon and appointments are also available in Chippenham.
mediationplus is a local child-centred registered charity that has for over 30 years worked with over 44,000 people, in Swindon and Wiltshire, to resolve family and community conflict, with a strong focus on those experiencing disadvantage through low income.
It aims to achieve positive outcomes for people facing conflict or change in their relationships through five separate services:
• Family Mediation- mediation for couples who have decided to separate or are going through divorce
• 5-18 Counselling Project – counselling for children and young people affected by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship
• In-Sight, the Supervised Contact Centre – supervised contact in situations where a court has identified that it is important for the child to spend time with the parent they do not live with.
• CLASSP (Co-ordinating Local Agencies for Separating and Separated Parents) referring separated parents to a range of services which can provide advice, emotional support, counselling, mediation and parenting support. Many of these services are free to clients.
• Community Mediation- to resolve conflict in neighbourhoods and communities;
The impact of this work is far reaching: As a registered charity over 1,000 families each year receive assistance to achieve positive outcomes in their particular situation.
The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act came into force on 1st April 2013. From that date Legal Aid has no longer been available in most Family Law cases for people wanting a solicitor to advise and/or represent them other than where the client has opted to use mediation.
National Family Mediation has a network of accredited family mediation services delivering in over 500 locations across the UK. Our services are proven to reduce the conflict in separation, help families avoid lengthy and costly court battles and provide a more affordable and quicker route than traditional legal remedies.
Mediationplus is a company Limited by Guaranteed Registration No: 3771140 Charity No: 1077743