95 per cent of divorcing couples opt for court over mediation

By Lenore Rice

The government's attempt to make divorcing couples attend mediation before going to court in England and Wales has been labelled a failure, after new figures revealed that only 5 per cent of separating couples followed the compulsory route in 2014/15.

Attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) has been compulsory for divorcing couples in England and Wales since 22nd April 2014. However, statistics would show that neither the courts or the individuals involved are taking the obligation very seriously. There were 112,000 private law applications made to a family court in 2014/15, of which an overwhelming majority of 95 per cent had been made without any prior attendance at a MIAM.

The government had hoped to reduce legal costs and promote a less confrontational alternative to resolving divorce disputes over finance and custody and access to children. Jane Robey, Chief Executive of National Family Mediation, says the figures show that "this small government step has flopped" and is says more support is required for the courts and the public to take notice of "the fact that MIAMs are compulsory".

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Bangor or Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.