An additional £5.4 million in funding is being made available to separating families under the Government’s mediation voucher scheme.

Under the scheme, divorcing couples receive £500 of vouchers to access mediation services to assist in resolving legal issues outside of court, such as child contact arrangements.

The funding announced on 3 June 2022 more than doubles the initiative’s investment since its inception in March of last year, bringing the total to £8.7 million. It will provide an extra 10,200 mediation coupons, bringing the total number of vouchers issued to 8,400.

If a case qualifies for vouchers, the mediator will automatically submit a claim to the FMC for reimbursement of the contributions. The initiative will be extended through March 2023, thanks to the financing announced today.

The plan has been a success, with approximately two-thirds of cases settling out of court in full or in part.

The Family Mediation Council (FMC), which runs the scheme, has conducted preliminary research that shows positive results. According to survey data from the first 2,800 completed cases using the vouchers, 65 percent reached a full or partial agreement outside of court, while the other 3% only went to court to formalise their agreement. It also revealed that without the financial incentive provided by the initiative, 50% of participants would not have attempted mediation.

Mediation is used to help separating families find mutually-acceptable solutions while relieving the stress and expense of litigation. Mediation is also preferred to help alleviate pressure on the family courts by allowing them to focus on cases with serious safeguarding issues, such as domestic violence.

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, and Secretary of State for Justice, said: “We’re investing more than £5 million to help more families resolve their conflicts without the stress and agony of lengthy legal fights”.

As Editor of Lawble, Gill helps business and individuals become better informed about their legal rights. Gill is a content specialist in the fields of law, tax and human resources.