Government Advocating Mediation Services
According to Justice Minister, Simon Hughes, couples will now have to attend mediation sessions with a trained mediator before applying for a court order for matters relating to a child or finances. This follows plans by the government to slash £220 million from the budget as it relates to legal aid services. This is because mediation is far cheaper than legal services and will ultimately cost tax payers less. On an average, mediation services costs tax payers £3,500 less than a bitter battle court battle.
The government is expecting that mediation services will help couples arrive at an amicable agreement. The only couples that will be exempt from attending mediation sessions are those with claims of domestic violence. However, the government supports mediation and is committed to ensuring that couples utilize mediation services instead of costly legal aid services.
New Statistics Reveal Spike in Divorce Rate
A statistical report released by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) revealed that increase in the divorce rate between 2010 and 2012. In 2012, the divorce rate spiked to 118,140 which was an increase of 0.5% when compared to the rate for 2011.
The experts theorised that recession may have been a contributory factor to the breakdown of these relationships. This as the divorce rate between 2003 to 2009 experienced a decrease. The report went on to say the recent divorce trends coincides with the theory that recession increases the risk of divorce.
A family law expert at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stow agreed that recession was a key element in the increased rate of divorces. She said that couples may endure adversity during harsh economic times, but may eventually feel that they are unable to hold it together.
Another family expert from the Pannone law firm, Vicki McLynn said that the improved economic conditions may have encouraged more couples to get a divorce. She added that couples may think that they can afford to get a divorce now that the end of the recession is in sight.
Trends indicate that more than two thirds of all marriages are likely to end in divorce. In light of recent statistical report, there has been an urgent call from Justice Minister Simon Hughes, for couples to engage in mediation services before going through the court system. The minister views mediation as a better way to resolve issues, especially when children are involved. The government is therefore committed to ensuring that people engage mediation sessions rather than going through the courts.
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