A landmark voucher scheme could help families pay for legal advice and seek resolutions outside of the courtroom, it has been revealed.
Known as the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, up to 2,000 separating couples will be awarded £500 to help alleviate pressures on the family courts arising from the pandemic.
Here’s everything you need to know.
How does the scheme work?
Up to 2,000 families will be invited to apply for a £500 voucher towards the cost of mediation services. Mediation is usually charged for unless one of the parties has access to Legal Aid.
Who can apply?
A client is eligible for a mediation voucher if they have:
- a dispute or application regarding a child, or
- a dispute or application regarding family financial matters where they are also involved in a dispute/application relating to a child.
How can my client apply for a voucher?
If your client is eligible, you should apply for a voucher on their behalf. The funds will be paid directly to the practice once all mediation sessions are concluded.
Which law firms can take part in the scheme?
Only mediators authorised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) are permitted to take part in the voucher scheme.
When does the scheme open and close?
The scheme launched on 26 March 2021 and will close when all available vouchers have been issued.
Mediation and Covid-19
Mediation services have continued to operate throughout 2020 and 2021 despite Covid-19, usually via remote video technology, such as Zoom or Skype.
The Family Mediation Council (FMC) says it will provide new guidance as and when coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.
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