Organisers behind a publicly funded scheme say it is ensuring separated parents stay away from long court room battles and helping them negotiate with the help of legal advice instead.
The At-Court mediation pilot project was launched at the start of the year to help parents who have been separated for more than 2 years, and who are currently undergoing court processes over child-related issues.
It is being provided by National Family Mediation (NFM) whose team of mediators are experienced in helping separated couples negotiate long-term arrangements for children.
It is currently being trialled in Herefordshire, Berkshire and West Yorkshire and provides mediation at family courts, as well as one-to-one support to reduce conflict between couples.
Jane Robey, NFM Chief Executive said: “At-Court Mediation is demonstrating clearly that couples who have become entrenched in conflict can, with the right help, find an exit from the courtroom drama and move on in a positive way,”
“The interests of children and young people are easily forgotten in the heat of a protracted court room battle.”
“This project is helping parents seriously consider how they communicate with and react to each other and, crucially, the impact all this has on their children.”
The project is being provided thanks to the help of judges, The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, legal advisors and other local stakeholders.
While this free service is currently only being trialled in three areas among a limited number of people, families currently undergoing a long-term separation in other areas of the UK can still access mediation services through their local law firms.
Family law specialists can provide a vital helping hand in on-going child custody and maintenance disputes both in and out of court.