Family dispute specialists gear up for January surge in demand

Impact of Covid restrictions could lead to increased calls for divorce and separation services

Family dispute specialists across England and Wales are on alert, as struggling couples across the country decide to end their relationships after what for many has been the most difficult holiday period ever known.

“Christmas is always a huge strain for fragile couple relationships,” says Jane Robey, CEO of the charity National Family Mediation.

“Covid restrictions and worries have heightened tensions, and within the first few days of 2021 our mediation service has already seen a rise in demand,” she added.

She said the availability of family mediation by Zoom had increased interest in the service.

“For couples looking to separate, the first question is: What do we do next? The answer doesn’t have to be contacting a lawyer to prepare for battle which they hope ends in ‘victory’ over their ex.

“Conducting family mediation by video conference, initially triggered by the pandemic, has proved very popular. Separating couples can look to make arrangements over parenting, property and money without having to sit in a room to face their ex.

“Family mediators are highly skilled negotiators with experience in helping families create long-term solutions that work well for their particular circumstances.

“Rather than leaving it to a judge to decide who will live where, what happens to the money, debts and pensions, and arrangements for the children, mediation empowers families themselves to decide these things. It’s their future after all.”

Legal Aid remains available for family mediation. To make a booking or receive a free information pack, use this link.