Protecting Children from Courtroom Battles with Mediation
BY JAMIE GRIERSON
Putting children first: The UK government plans to divert thousands of time-consuming family disputes away from the courts by making mediation mandatory for suitable low-level family court cases. Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab emphasizes the impact of lengthy and combative courtroom battles on children’s mental health and quality of life.
With this proposal, separating couples must attempt to agree on child custody and financial arrangements through a qualified mediator, with court action as a last resort. Let’s hope this move leads to a more peaceful and constructive approach to family disputes.
Separating parents could be forced to go to mediation under Raab plans
Move aims to help families in England and Wales resolve issues while reducing pressure on courts and impact on children
Mediation would become mandatory in all suitable low-level family court cases excluding those which include allegations or a history of domestic violence under the proposals, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said.
This will mean separating couples have to attempt to agree their child custody and financial arrangements through a qualified mediator, with court action being a last resort.
It is hoped the move would help up to 19,000 separating families resolve their issues away from the courtroom, while also reducing backlogs and easing pressures on the family courts.
The proposals will be subject to a government consultation, which will run for 12 weeks, closing on 15 June.
The justice secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “When parents drag out their separation through lengthy and combative courtroom battles it impacts on their children’s school work, mental health and quality of life.
“Our plans will divert thousands of time-consuming family disputes away from the courts – to protect children and ensure the most urgent cases involving domestic abuse survivors are heard by a court as quickly as possible.”