NFM welcomes government’s commitment to encouraging earlier dispute resolution

NFM says thousands of families each year will benefit from support to make separation and divorce more amicable

National Family Mediation, the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales, has today welcomed the government’s response on resolving private family disputes earlier through family mediation.

 The announcement from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) comes as part of its commitment to ensure that families are able to resolve issues around separation as quickly as possible, and in the best interests of all involved; as well as putting children’s welfare firmly at the heart of the system.

Charity NFM (National Family Mediation) has welcomed the measures, which will help to raise awareness of the support that is available.

Commenting on the announcement and the ‘Supporting earlier resolution of private family law arrangements’ paper which was published on Friday, January 26th, NFM CEO Sarah Hawkins said: “This is a really positive step forward for the thousands of families who find themselves in crisis over conflict every year.

“Further to the consultation the government has committed to measures that will help people make a decision about earlier dispute resolution, and what options are available to them.

“It has pledged to continue with the voucher scheme which has proved hugely successful to date, and we are particularly pleased to see child inclusive mediation has not only been acknowledged, but also placed highly in the government’s recommendation in recognition of the benefits it can bring.”

Sarah adds that NFM also welcomes the government’s acknowledgement of the role of the MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting) and that it has noted how important they are.

She added: “The MIAM runs alongside the Family Procedure Rule changes that come in at the end of April when Judges and court officials will be better placed to ensure more people have tried early dispute resolution.

“We are hopeful that all of these changes will mean that many more families will be encouraged to try mediation which is far faster, much more cost-effective and considerably less stressful than heading to court.” 

NFM is a national charity which helps couples who need help to sort arrangements for children, property and finance following separation or divorce. In November it announced that it was the first family mediation provider to put all of its child-inclusive mediators through the DBS Advanced Check.