I used to have a cat called Poppy – my family called her the “Peace Cat”. At the merest hint of a raised voice in the household, Poppy would come running and insert herself between the opposing parties, like a benign mediator. It was impossible to have an argument with Poppy around. She would reach up and gently put her paw on your lips, like a gentle shush.
Now, talking of mediation. Family mediation can be an effective way of resolving disputes arising from family breakdowns, particularly in cases involving children. To encourage more families to use this approach, the Ministry of Justice launched the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, partly as a response to Covid-19 challenges.
Under the scheme, eligible families can receive a voucher worth up to £500 towards the cost of mediation services. The aim is to make mediation more accessible and affordable for families who might otherwise struggle to pay for it.
You will have to attend a MIAM (Mediation and Information Assessment Meeting) first. A mediator will assess the issues and make sure that they meet the eligibility requirements for the voucher scheme.
The following would be eligible for a mediation voucher:
- a dispute/application regarding a child
- a dispute/application regarding family financial matters where you are also involved in a dispute/application relating to a child
Just be aware that the voucher will not cover the cost of the initial MIAM. But if you are able to proceed with mediation then you can have a contribution of £500 towards the mediation costs.
The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme is administered by mediators recognised by the Family Mediation Council and you can click here for more details.
Overall, the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme is a positive step towards promoting the use of mediation as an alternative to costly and time-consuming court proceedings. By making mediation more accessible to families, the scheme has the potential to help resolve disputes more quickly and effectively, while also reducing the emotional and financial costs of family breakdowns. Good luck with mediation – you will have to supply your own cat.