- 19 Jan 2022
- 2 min read
Family Mediation Week – Can mediation help with child arrangements during separation?
Mediation is an effective way for separated parents to decide together what the future arrangements for their children will be.
Rather than asking a Judge to decide what the arrangements will be for your children, the mediator can help you both make future decisions with dignity, so you can keep in mind what will work best for your family.
This is particularly important where there are young children, and inevitably your arrangements will need to be reviewed and adapted as the children reach different milestones such as starting nursery or school and attending extra-curricular activities.
Mediation can also help parents come together and agree on more specific issues, such as whether they will both hold and attend one birthday party for their child, when they will introduce mobile phones, what responsibilities the children should have around the house and whether that in turn should be awarded with pocket money.
Useful tools such as a “Parenting Plan” can be looked at within mediation, so that both parents are able to make commitments to each other about how they will raise the children together.
Any agreements reached within mediation are not legally binding, but the Parenting Plan can be relied upon by the parties as a key document, and changes can then be made to this as the children get older and the arrangements need to change accordingly. This is an advantage over having a Court Order – which must be followed and can be much more restrictive in terms of the arrangements.
The government is currently running an initiative called the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme. This provides non-means tested vouchers of up to £500 towards your mediation costs.
Eligibility for the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme is not based on an individuals income, and can be applied when there is a private law dispute/application regarding a child, for example for a Child Arrangements Order or Specific Issue Order.
The sum of £500 is available per case, not per individual, and a family can only claim one voucher during the life cycle of this scheme.
Our expert mediators at Trethowans have signed up to the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, and are proud to be part of the government initiative to promote the use of mediation, and keep disputes regarding the arrangements for children outside of the Court arena.
If you would like to find out more and to take advantage of the £500 voucher towards mediation services, please contact our Family Mediation Services team here or for further information contact us on 0800 2800 421 or click here.