More families will benefit from publicly funded family mediation following a fresh cash injection by the government.
A further £800,000 has been allocated to a voucher scheme launched five months ago with £1m of initial funding.
Nearly 2,000 more families will get up to £500 towards the cost of mediation without a means test, helping separating parents keep disputes away from court. Normally, each mediation session is charged for unless one of the parties has access to legal aid. The scheme is eligible for families seeking to resolve private law or financial matters relating to children – for example, child arrangement orders or financial disputes.
If a case is eligible for vouchers, the mediator will automatically claim back the contributions from the government.
Courts minister Lord Wolfson QC said: ‘Hundreds of separating couples have already benefited from this scheme – resolving their disputes without the need for an often lengthy, costly and emotionally taxing court process.
‘This additional funding will allow even more families to access these services, while helping to lessen the pressure on our family courts as we build back better from the pandemic.’
The new investment in the scheme follows a call for evidence on dispute resolution, launched earlier this month, on the best ways to settle family, business and other civil disputes away from court.