Thousands of couples who separate each year have been urged to spurn confrontational court battles and instead to try mediation to sort out disputes over finances and children – as new figures show divorce rates increased last year.
The latest ONS figures show 118,140 people divorced in England and Wales in 2012 – an increase from the 117,558 in 2011.
In 2012/13 more than 17,000 people successfully used legally aided family mediation – which the Government says is often quicker, cheaper and produces longer lasting results than going to court – to sort out disputes over their property, finances and children.
Mediation uses negotiations to reach agreements which both people are prepared to live with, rather than having them dictated by the court. It is led by a trained and certified mediator and couples can ask a court to consider and make their agreement into a legally binding and enforceable court order.
“Mediation works. We are committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court,” said Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes.
“These figures show thousands of people are sadly still divorcing each year. 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 mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them.”
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