Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors
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It goes without saying that divorce can be a painful experience.
Much of that pain can be caused by conflict during the process,
leading to stressful contested court proceedings.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
A recent major change in the law has removed the need to blame
your spouse for the breakdown of the marriage, whilst
simultaneously doing away with contested divorces.
And agreeing arrangements for children and finances through
the use of mediation could do away with the need to go to court at
No more blame game with the new no-fault divorce system
The major change in the law is of course the introduction of a
no-fault divorce system.
Gone is the requirement to prove that the marriage has
irretrievably broken down, often by showing that your spouse had
committed adultery or behaved unreasonably.
Obviously, many spouses took exception to being blamed for the
breakdown of the marriage in this way, and this often served to
increase the conflict between the parties, and make it less likely
that they would be able to agree matters relating to finances and
And sometimes blaming the other spouse would lead to the divorce
itself being defended, and contested in court.
Thankfully, under no-fault divorce it is no longer necessary to
play the ‘blame game’, and it is no longer even possible to
defend a divorce. Divorce is now a far less painful process.
Please see the post we wrote here in April for further details of the new no-fault divorce
The benefits of no-fault divorce and mediation
But no-fault divorce doesn’t deal with issues relating to
finances and arrangements for children, which still remain to be
And the best way to resolve them is of course by agreement,
rather than by painful contested court proceedings.
It may be possible to reach agreement direct with the other
spouse, or by negotiations through solicitors.
But where that is not possible there is still another way to
avoid contested court proceedings: by referring the matter to
mediation and bringing no-fault divorce and mediation together to
Mediation can only happen where both parties agree. If they do,
they will have one or more meetings with a trained family mediator,
who will help them to resolve the issues between them by
It is important to note that the mediator will not force anyone
to agree to anything – a resolution will only be reached if both
parties agree, meaning that the parties will get a settlement that
they want, rather than having one imposed upon them.
And if they do agree then it should not be necessary to go to
court at all. If the agreement relates to finances on divorce then
the agreement will have to be put into a court order, but it is
normally possible to obtain an order without having to go to
Mediation can avoid the pain and stress of
contested court proceedings.
And there has never been a better time to use no-fault divorce
and mediation together. The Government has just announced a major
extension to its mediation voucher scheme, which means that
thousands more people will get help with the cost of mediation.
Under the voucher scheme, £500 mediation vouchers
are provided to divorcing couples, with the aim of helping them
find mutually agreeable solutions and freeing up space in the
family courts. More than 8,400 vouchers have already been used, and
new funding from the Government will allow for 10,200 more.
The voucher scheme covers cases involving a dispute regarding a
child and cases involving a dispute regarding family financial
matters where there is also a dispute relating to a child.
If you are interested in mediation, we offer a full solicitor-led family mediation service,
dealing with both finances on divorce and disputes over
arrangements for children.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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