The family mediation voucher scheme that was introduced on the 26th of March by the Ministry of Justice in response to Covid-19 to support the recovery within the family court, is a time-limited scheme that encourages parties to resolve their disputes outside of the family court through mediation where applicable. The scheme will offer parties a financial contribution of £500 per family which will help contribute to covering the costs of the mediation process. The financial aid within the scheme can only be distributed to mediation providers that are authorised by the Family Mediation Council, who are the administrators of the scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
How the family mediation voucher scheme can benefit you
One of the most notable benefits that come with family mediation is that it allows you to stay in control of the situation, as opposed to court where it falls down to the judge’s decisions on critical life matters such as child and financial arrangements. When it comes to mediation, you and your estranged partner or family member have the ability to reach amicable decisions around your children, putting their interests first.
The cost of family mediation is much cheaper than family court settlements, and with the introduction of the new voucher scheme, family mediation will become even more of a suitable cost-effective solution for those who may not be able to afford court payments. Not only is the financial element of the mediation voucher scheme an attractive incentive, but family mediation is notoriously much less stressful and a quicker and simpler process than taking your dispute to the family court.
Separation and disputes involving your family can undoubtedly be a very distressing time and can be hard for two parties to communicate and reach decisions together. However, by opting for family mediation, the process can provide you with a more safe and structured environment to help you reach the most practical and best solutions for you and your children.
Am I eligible for a family mediation voucher?
Firstly, you and the other party will have to attend what is known as a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). At a MIAM, a qualified mediator will assess your situation after you provide them with the necessary information. From their assessment, they will then decide whether or not the issues that you are seeking to be resolved and your unique situation meet the requirements needed for the eligibility of the voucher scheme. Both parties that are involved in the dispute will need to attend this initial meeting before they can proceed with the mediation. This can be done either together or separately depending on what is best for you and your situation.
The cost of a MIAM can vary between different providers, however, on average you can expect to pay around £90 per person. If you or the other party are eligible for legal aid, then you will both be able to qualify for a free MIAM. Qualifying for legal aid will not affect your eligibility for the family mediation voucher, meaning you will still be eligible for the voucher.
Want to find out more about legal aid and whether you qualify? Take a look at our page for legal services in Cardiff where we explain all about legal aid and whether or not you can qualify.
How do I apply for the family mediation voucher?
If you decide that mediation is the best solution for you and would like to proceed with this route, then depending on your eligibility for the mediation voucher, the mediator from the MIAM will apply for the voucher. The funding from the voucher will then be transferred directly to the mediator after all mediation sessions have concluded. No application is required on your behalf, your mediator will take care of the process for you which is another attractive feature of the new scheme.
Does the family mediation voucher cover all of the costs?
This will solely depend on the mediator you choose to go with and the rates they set and how many sessions will be required. The whole objective of the voucher is to act as a contribution towards the mediation sessions, therefore in some cases, the £500 could cover the overall cost, however, you may find that contrastingly, you will need to pay additional fees if you require more sessions than the voucher will cover.
Get in touch with us
If mediation is an option that you would like to explore instead of taking your dispute to court, then contact us today on 029 2039 6087, or you can request a legal consultation by filling out a form at the top of the page. We are a team of dedicated specialists who are highly compassionate and have been offering our expert guidance on family law solutions since 2001. As our solicitors are members of resolution, we can refer you to mediation and guide you throughout the entire process so you will be able to reach a desirable and amicable decision.
Hurlows Family Law Practice is a valued and respected Firm of Solicitors which has been serving the Cardiff and South Wales area since 2001.