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February 23, 2011 Speech Box

From the 6th April divorcing spouses will initially be referred to a mediator to try and resolve most disputes before they are allowed to use the courts. The motivation for this change is that mediation is thought to be a quicker and cheaper alternative to court. Any cases involving domestic violence or child protection issues will still go straight to court but other disputes regarding money issues and contact with children will involve a compulsory mediation assessment session before court proceedings may be issued. I completely support the mediation process where there is a sense of goodwill between the parties, but it is certainly not a process suitable for all separating couples. Also, if one person does not want to take part in mediation they cannot be forced to do so and the case will then proceed to court. It will certainly be interesting to see how this new process affects the overburdened courts in the long term.

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