Two years after its launch in March 2021, a leading mediation provider reflects on how well the government’s Family Mediation Voucher Scheme is working, which to date 13,500 eligible families have successfully used.
Nicola Crowther, the founder of Crowther Mediation, said:
“I’m passionate about the use of mediation to resolve some of the most difficult disputes that couples and families have to go through, and those in my team feel the same. We like working with our clients in a calm, professional way, to help parties make arrangements for children and finances.”
The team at Crowther Mediation have all achieved the highest level of accreditation in mediation and enjoy working directly with people. The team is committed to resolving difficult situations through mutual agreement and they have seen first-hand the role of mediation in resolving issues relating to families, such as child arrangement orders or finances on divorce.
“We have seen for ourselves how positive the results can be and the reduced time is so much better for families with children. Protracted negotiations are not only expensive, they also affect children who are often exposed to parents who feel angry and vulnerable, which can spill over into regular arguments. Mediation is an important step in the legal process and we are confident that our experience and approach make us one the UK’s best providers.”
What is mediation?
According to the government’s guide to family mediation, family mediation ‘ is a process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you work out
arrangements for children and finances following separation. Mediation can also be helpful when arrangements you’ve made before need to change, particularly as your children grow up.’
The government has recognised that prolonged conflict between separating parents is harmful to children’s wellbeing and life chances. Taking up to eight weeks to conclude child arrangements or financial issues, mediation tends to be faster than taking family matters through the courts.
In a speech on family mediation in January 2022, current Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab said: “I want to see children and their parents spared the stress and conflict of the courtroom as much as possible, and I’m delighted that thousands more will now have the opportunity to resolve their disputes in less combative way. At the same time, it will free up vital capacity in the family courts to ensure the system can recover quickly from the pandemic.”
More recently the Government has gone further by planning to make mediation sessions mandatory and offer funding support in an effort to divert cases away from under-pressure family courts.
Dominic Raab added that “lengthy and combative courtroom battles” were harmful for children.
So why don’t more people use mediation?
“There is a gap in understanding about what mediation is – and isn’t. We are not marriage guidance counsellors and we are definitely not delivering meditation! At Crowther Mediation we are committed to getting the right results for our clients. We use our knowledge and empathy, coupled with a robust and resilient approach, to help families and individuals find resolution.
“We have experience in dealing with a range of complex civil, family and workplace mediation cases and are proud of our track record in helping clients to identify the right solutions that help them move forward. Our vision is to transform how mediation is provided and perceived across the UK and beyond. We are proud to work directly with our clients and alongside many solicitors who, like us, are seeking resolutions for their clients and their families.”