Separating couples will be legally required to find out about ways to settle disputes away from the courtroom, under new laws currently going through Parliament. The changes mean that separating couples will have to attend an initial information and assessment session to see whether it would be better for them to use mediation than to get embroiled in a legal battle over dividing property and agreeing child custody arrangements.
Family Justice Minister Lord McNally said:
‘The benefits of mediation are clear – it is quicker, cheaper and leads to better outcomes. That is why we are introducing new laws – which will require couples to attend a mediation information assessment meeting first - to find out more and consider whether it is suitable for them.I want to see separating couples, wherever possible, use mediation. The court should be a last resort when couples are working out how to split assets and arrange time with the children.’