Mediation charity braces itself for new year separation and divorce spike

National Family Mediation braces itself for new year separation and divorce spike as couples decide to end their relationship after a stressful holiday period. 

Family dispute specialists who are part of the country’s largest network of family mediators are preparing for what could be their busiest time of the year, as couples across the region make it their new year resolution to end their relationships after a stressful holiday period.

Staff at National Family Mediation (NFM), a charity which helps families to sort arrangements for children, property, finance and other important matters, say in their experience Christmas often proves the final straw for relationships that have been fragile for some time.

This year the government has stepped in to provide some support for those affected, introducing a voucher scheme worth up to £500 that could help them save thousands on costly court fees.

The scheme was introduced to help ease some of the burden being experienced by the family courts which continue to face a significant backlog of cases; a problem which has been made worse by the pandemic.

“Our professional mediators are on new year alert, expecting a flood of enquiries,” says Jane Robey, the CEO of NFM. “We know there will be many, many couples who have decided for sure to separate yet need some help and support with what comes next. Especially in cases where children are involved.

“January usually sees a rise in divorce and separation, as relationships that have hung by a thread for some time finally snapped over Christmas. This holiday period is likely to have been even harder for many, following what has been an extremely difficult and stressful couple of years.

“So, the question becomes: What do we do next? Where am I going to live, how am I going to manage financially, and, crucially, when am I going to see my children?

“The voucher scheme is a real lifeline in that respect, as it means that everyone can access the support they need, and it could save them thousands on costly court fees.

“Even grandparents and other extended family members are eligible to take advantage of the funding if they need any support with child contact matters.”