The plans would only apply to family court cases considered to be low-level in England and Wales. Those involving allegations or a history of domestic violence would not be included in the mandatory mediation plan.
Couples going through separation will be required to seek mediation to settle disputes before attending court in a bid to protect children and free up court time.
The confidential process of mediation involves an independent and impartial mediator to help those going through a dispute negotiate and come to a solution.
The plans set for England and Wales will see parents try to settle their child custody and finances through a mediator – court action would only be a last resort.
Up to 19,000 separating families could resolve their issues this way, meaning 36,000 vulnerable families who need the most protection could receive faster hearings and quicker resolutions due to reduced family court backlogs and pressures, according to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).
However, the plans would only apply to family court cases deemed to be low-level; those involving allegations or a history of domestic violence would not be included in the mandatory plan.
Judges could order parents to make reasonable attempts to mediate under the plan, and if they don’t reasonably comply and are deemed to harm a child’s well-being by dragging out court proceedings, they could face a fine.
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.
Read the complete article here.
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