A charity has called for an increased use of mediation during family breakdown.
The public needs a better understanding of the divorce process so children and other “at-risk parties” can be better protected, the Family Mediation Association (FMA) insists.
This call comes during the organisation’s Family Mediation Week, which launched yesterday and will run until Friday 27 January. This publicity campaign aims to raise awareness of out-of-court options for families going through divorce or separation.
Beverley Sayers is a spokesperson for the FMA. She said that if couples going through a divorce “can stay patient and open minded, there are much better and cheaper alternatives to going to court, including mediation, and collaborative family law and arbitration”.
Avoiding the courtroom would make “a big difference to any kids involved in what is a hurtful time for everyone in the family” she added.
Sir Oliver Heald QC is a Conservative MP and the Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice. He claimed he was “a strong supporter” of the way mediation can “help couples reach agreements and reduce the stress of separation”. He said he was “very keen to see improved information and signposting, so that more people are aware of how mediation can help dispute resolution”.
An increase in mediation awareness would not only help couples but would ease the financial burden on taxpayers, the organisation claimed.
Early last year, the Relationships Foundation estimated that the cost of family breakdown to the taxpayer in 2016 was £48 billion, a £1 billion increase from 2015 and a significant rise from the £37 billion total of 2009.
For more information on the FMA, click here.