Tag: mediation

What is family mediation?

For divorcing couples, family mediation can help sort out disputes without the need to go to court.

Mediation is a more informal way to resolve the conflicts and issues that can arise in divorce. The process is less stressful and quicker than going to court and therefore can also save money.

An independent, professionally trained mediator helps separating couples work out arrangements for children and finances following separation. Crucially these arrangements have to be acceptable to both parties.

Most arrangements need some give and take on both sides. Even so an agreed outcome is almost always preferable to the imposition of a solution by a judge.

Registered mediators can provide general legal information, but they cannot provide legal advice for your situation. For example, they can tell you what the law states about financial settlements on divorce in general, but they cannot apply that to your particular circumstances.

We recommend that legal advice is still taken as it can turn the written agreement into a legally binding document. You can consult your family law solicitor at any point in the process. Often it is best to do this both during the process and on any proposals that are agreed.

Family mediation vouchers

We’ve worked with many excellent mediators over the years, though it’s important to stress that every divorce is distinctive and not all are suitable for this approach.

Mediation is in the news right now as the Government has put funding in to support more divorce cases being resolved in this way.

Since being launched last March, separating couples have used 4,400 £500 Government vouchers to help fund their mediation.

This week the Government announced an extra £1.27 million is being invested in the scheme. That’s after research found  77 per cent of cases reached full or partial agreements away from the family courts.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, said: “I want to see children and their parents spared the stress and conflict of the courtroom as much as possible, and I’m delighted that thousands more will now have the opportunity to resolve their disputes in a less combative way.

“At the same time, it will free up vital capacity in the family courts to ensure the system can recover quickly from the pandemic.”

Want to know more and to see whether mediation is suitable for you? Call our free phoneline on 0800 285 1413 or email info@merrick-solicitors.com.

→ We spoke with mediator Maura McKibbin previously about helping separated parents make new plans for holiday periods.

Working to help you during lockdown

With the UK in lockdown until at least May 7, the next few weeks are going to be difficult for many in relationships further strained by the coronavirus pandemic. But for those divorcing during lockdown or who need advice or support we are working to help you.

Lawyers, like many others, have had to adapt quickly to a new landscape. We’re working from home safely and securely and remain in regular contact with those we represent.

Whilst we are currently unable to meet clients face-to-face, we are taking instructions by email; we’ve sorted the best camera angles for video conferencing and there is always the good old telephone!

We will do whatever works best for you.

The Family Court in England and Wales is still open as access to justice remains an ‘essential service’.

Divorcing during lockdown

Telephone and video hearings have come to the fore. Face-to-face hearings are only being held in exceptional circumstances. And while, like most organisations, courts have been hit by the spread of the virus and staff taking the necessary steps to shield or self-isolate, they are still very much open for business.

The pandemic has hit the economy hard, affecting many people’s employment, pensions, investments and overall financial stability.

Undoubtedly anyone in the midst of proceedings should think hard about how the current situation affects them, not only now but also in the longer term.

In some cases, delay is the only option but here at Merrick we remain solution-focused. If there’s a way to achieve the closure you want, be reassured we will do our best to find it.

An alternative dispute resolution service, such as mediation, can allow for more flexible outcomes and parties are being actively encouraged to pursue this forum in order to avoid current delays in the court process.  It is, however, important to first ensure your case is suitable and that you enter any such process fully advised as to outcomes.

divorce during lockdown: a mediator may help

Divorcing during lockdown: Mediation may help separating couples avoid delays currently in the court process


Any existing shared care arrangements should be maintained where possible. But, if both parents are now at home, consider also the benefits of a revised arrangement which allows you to share more equally the task of home-schooling!

Stay safe

It is a sad fact that domestic violence is an increased risk because of the lockdown. The need for families to spend prolonged amounts of time in close quarters, coupled with the financial and social pressures, mean additional anxieties for some.

The most important thing is to keep yourself and any children safe. If you are concerned for your physical or mental well-being, then please do seek help as soon as possible.

The Government has stressed the instruction to stay at home does not apply if you need to escape domestic abuse.

Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. You can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

Our phoneline 0161 505 1850 continues to be answered from 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday. If it is difficult to call because of the lockdown you can send us a private message via social media or email info@merrick-solicitors.com.

We are working to help you.


We’ve written previously about the children of separated parents during lockdown.