politics

Separating couples to be given £500 vouchers to prevent child custody battles going to court


WARRING parents will be given cash to stop them taking their bitter ‘tug of love’ child custody battles to court.

Divorcing couples will be given £500 vouchers to spend on mediation to stop them dragging their kids through distressing court disputes.

Separating couples will be offered mediation vouchers to avoid court custody battles

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Separating couples will be offered mediation vouchers to avoid court custody battlesCredit: Alamy

The Ministry of Justice, which is rolling out the scheme, said 70 per cent of couples who used the service settled their rows out of court. 

Courts Minister, Lord Wolfson QC, said: “Mediation is often a quicker, cheaper and less stressful way of resolving disputes, which helps separating couples reach amicable agreements without an unnecessary and often acrimonious court process.

“Our new scheme will open up the benefits of these services to even more families – sparing them the stress of long legal battles, while also helping to lessen the pressure on our family courts as we recover from the pandemic.”

Ministers are stumping up £1million to give the vouchers to 2,000 families to help them with mediation costs.

They hope the scheme will help ease pressure on England’s creaking family courts, which have a massive backlog of cases because of Covid lockdowns.

Under the scheme, couples will talk through their problems with a trained mediator who will help them thrash out a custody deal rather than leaving it to a judge.

John Taylor, chairman of the Family Mediation Council said: “It will help separated families agree solutions that are best for their children, taking into account what is going to be important for them as they grow up.

“Family mediation is a proven cost-effective way to resolve differences following separation.

“This voucher scheme will make it even more accessible, and will help families resolve issues for themselves, without having to go to court.”

Courts Minister Lord Wolfson QC says mediation is cheaper and more stress-free

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Courts Minister Lord Wolfson QC says mediation is cheaper and more stress-freeCredit: Crown Copyright
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