Opinion & Debate

Published on November 27th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Mediation spares children the trauma of court


The Family Justice Minister Lord McNally has said that children can be spared the trauma of court battles if their parents go through mediation when they separate.

Lord McNally made his comments as he signed a new pledge created by family law organisation Resolution, as part of Family Dispute Resolution Week, which is raising awareness of non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown.

“Mediation works and is the best option for children. We are committed to ensuring more people resolve disputes themselves, rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court,” he said. “When people separate we want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them by the Courts.”

The Resolution pledge states: 

I pledge to help people going through separation by:

  • Letting them know there are alternatives to court
  • Encouraging them to talk to a professional about all their options to find the right solution for them and their families
  • Making sure they know that legal aid is still available for mediation

Liz Edwards, Chair of Resolution, said that everyone needs to ensure that couples are aware of their options when they are going through separation, and that Resolution was ‘delighted’ Lord McNally had signed the pledge.

“Everyone – Government, the legal profession and individuals – needs to do their bit to ensure the right information is out there and people going through a break-up are aware of their options,” she said. “For some couples, court is the only option, but for the vast majority, family lawyers can help them find other, more suitable solutions, which make the difficult process of break-up that much less stressful. This year’s Family Dispute Resolution Week is designed to help raise awareness of these solutions and show people that divorce doesn’t have to be devastating.”

Resolution says that ‘millions of pounds’ of public funding is available to pay for family mediation, and that last year more than 17,000 people successfully used publicly funded family mediation to reach an agreement. The organisation reports that only six per cent of those couples who had mediation needed further legal services, compared to 21 per cent of those who didn’t go through the process.

Also on parenting solo: Your questions about mediation answered

Family Law



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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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