Family Mediation Voucher Scheme
The government introduced this scheme in March 2021, allowing each separating family who wish to mediate issues around children and child arrangements a contribution of up to £500 towards their family mediation costs.
Who is eligible?
Any family is eligible for the scheme however [TELL ME WHAT IT DOES COVER FIRST THEN GIVE ME THE BAD NEWS!]it does not cover the costs of the initial meeting with the mediator, the MIAM, and the mediation must be conducted by a Family Mediation Council Accredited mediator (which includes the team at Horizon Mediation).
Only one application per family can be made for the duration of the scheme.
Once the £1 million fund allocation has been used the scheme will end we do not currently know how long the fund will last.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS – WHO BY? You are asked to complete a questionnaire to help the Government understand clients’ needs and demographic in this area of work. The information is collected by the Family Mediation Council who administer the scheme. Both the application for the voucher and the payment for work is conducted directly between the Family Mediation Council and your mediator.
(CONFUSED AGAIN) You will each be charged for the MIAMs and the £500 will be used to cover your joint mediation costs, with any amount in excess of £500 payable by each of you.
We will provide more details of this scheme at the MIAM.
If one or both of you had your MIAM before 26 March 2021 you will not be eligible for the scheme.
The Voucher Scheme and Legal Aid
If both parents qualify for legal aid
The whole of the mediation process is free for both parents, including both MIAMs.
If one parent qualifies for legal aid
Both MIAMs and the first mediation session are free for both parents. Thereafter, the parent who is not eligible for legal aid will need to pay for any subsequent mediation sessions.
So, parents eligible for legal aid may decide not to use the Voucher Scheme because they will have to pay towards family mediation costs.
Court is free, so why use the Voucher Scheme?
[DONT UNDERSTAND] If you represent yourself in Court you won’t have to pay for a barrister or solicitor, but it could take up to a year for your case to get to a final hearing. In that time the current arrangements can become fixed; if you are not seeing your children at the moment it could take a very long time for arrangements to be put in place.
In the time spent waiting for your Court date tensions between you and your ex. could escalate creating greater difficulties both for you and your children.
Once you get in front of the Judge you will not be the decision makers, matters will be taken out of both of your hands.
With a contribution towards mediation costs of £500, wouldn’t you prefer to try and talk about your children with their other parent before Court?