Family Law News

Plans for Compulsory Mediation Scrapped by the Government

Plans for Compulsory Mediation Scrapped by the Government

The government launched a consultation process in Spring 2023 proposing to make mediation compulsory for separating couples, a proposal which proved to be controversial.

After a year-long consultation, it has now been announced that the changes sought have been scrapped by the government.

For some, this is welcome news as concerns arose as to whether or not mediation was appropriate in all cases.

For others, this is disappointing as it is felt that one party still has the ability to force the other into court proceedings.

So, what are the options available to separating couples when trying to resolve a dispute?

There are various ways in which matters can be resolved when a couple separates.

If the parties are married, it is likely there are financial assets which need addressing.

An option available is for the parties to exchange financial disclosure on a voluntary basis through solicitors.

The purpose of exchanging financial disclosure is to identify the martial assets and consider how these assets can be utilised to meet the needs of the parties.

In order to be fully advised as to what financial settlement is fair, full and frank financial disclosure is required.

This process of voluntary disclosure involves both parties exchanging their financial disclosure on a voluntary basis and, with the assistance of solicitors, working towards a financial settlement being agreed.

By engaging in this process, the parties have not had to endure what can be protracted and costly court proceedings – the parties are able to reach an earlier settlement and move forward.

Marsden Rawsthorn regularly assists clients to achieve a financial settlement by way of voluntary disclosure.

If it has not been possible to reach an agreement through solicitors, the only recourse available to the parties may well be court proceedings.

Once court proceedings are issued, a timetable is put in place to ensure that the progress towards a settlement, this being either an agreed settlement, or, in the absence of any agreement, a settlement determined by the court.

Court proceedings are more costly than voluntary disclosure and the time taken to achieve a settlement can be significant.

Unfortunately, however, if all other avenues have been exhausted, court proceedings will be required to resolve the dispute and Marsden Rawsthorn has extensive experience in assisting clients through such proceedings.

If you have recently separated and are unsure as to the options available to you to resolve the financial matters arising, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01772 799600 and speak with one of our expert Family Law Lawyers.

Article by Lauren Townson

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