<strong>Separated couples turning to mediation to ‘co-exist amicably’ as cost of living crisis hits</strong>

The charity National Family Mediation (NFM) has reported that it has seen an increase in enquiries from people struggling with the cost of living, with some separating couples saying they are being forced to live together even though the relationship has broken down.

Jane Robey, NFM’S CEO, said the Government’s £500 Voucher Scheme would act as a ‘lifeline’ for many, with couples turning to mediation to help them to ‘co-exist amicably’ until finances allow them to move into separate accommodation. 

As part of the scheme, couples who decide to split up can access up to £500, which can be used to fund mediation to discuss children matters, using mediation providers such as NFM.

Jane said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a significant impact on families across the country. Food prices have gone up, fuel costs have rocketed, and we are seeing a lot of businesses collapsing leaving many workers unemployed or worried about their jobs.

“Over the past few months, we have seen an increase in people who come to us who are very worried about how they are going to pay for the basics, let alone the added expense that comes with Christmas.

“Recently, that has included couples in conflict who just cannot afford to go their separate ways. Instead, they are resigned to the fact that they are going to have to live together until they are both in a better financial position.

“While you might think that seems like a sensible approach to sharing costs and managing childcare, the reality is that living in close proximity to an ex-partner can be incredibly stressful.

“For families with children, the priority needs to be finding a way to co-exist amicably for as long as is needed, and so the government’s mediation voucher scheme has been a real lifeline in helping them to navigate the difficulties that inevitably lie ahead.”

Jane added that the charity is braced to deal with more calls related to the breakdown in relationships fuelled by finances over the festive season.

She said: “Sadly, while Christmas is supposed to be a jolly time of year it can also pile added pressure on relationships already at the end of their tether.

“Our mediators always see a spike in enquiries in December and January, but this year we do anticipate more calls than ever given the economic climate and the difficulties that many people are facing.”

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