The number of divorces in England and Wales have slightly increased by 0.5% since 2011 – as shown by the latest figures out today from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Jane Robey, Chief Executive Officer of National Family Mediation, the largest provider of family mediation in the U.K. responded by stating:
“In 2011 we saw the divorce rates hit an all-time low. The theory was that couples couldn’t afford to split as a result of the recession. Now we see divorce rates are rising. Is this as a result of the anecdotal green shoots of economic recovery or because breaking point has been reached?”
“Nobody plans for a divorce and it can be emotionally, financially and practically challenging but the sustained pressure of the economic recession with job losses redundancy, financial insecurity and huge hike in cost of living will have tested many families resolve to the limits. Sadly the ONS figures indicate that many families have reached tipping point and cannot withstand anymore”.
Families past the talking point need affordable expert advice and information to be able to move forward. National Family Mediation understands all too well the impact and expense of divorce and the effect conflict created by relationship breakdown can have on families.
Going through the process of divorce can cause great uncertainty to all members of the family, and at such a stressful time, many couples find it difficult to talk to each other about their concerns and the plans they need to make.
Family Mediation can help because it gives you a private and supportive setting to talk through all the issues surrounding your divorce or separation. Simon Hughes, Justice Minister, supports this view:
“”[The government is] committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.”
“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.”
Professionally, trained mediators provide you with the tools to untangle all the strands around family breakdown, whether it is before, during or after the event, and offer you a structured process that enables you to focus on your practical plans for the future.
Robey adds: “National Family Mediation aims to help families adjust to the change that relationship breakdown brings with minimum distress and conflict, with the welfare of children in these families being paramount”.
- According to the ONS release in 2012 – the latest year published – there were a total of 118,140 divorces, a slight increase on 2011, when there were 117,558 (ONS).
- Of the 2012 total, almost half of these divorces occurred in the first 10 years of marriage, with divorces most likely to occur between the fourth and eighth wedding anniversary. 71% of divorces were for first marriages (ONS).
- National Family Mediation has a network of accredited family mediation services delivering in over 500 locations across England, Wales and the Channel Islands. Our services are proven to reduce the conflict in separation, help families avoid lengthy and costly court battles and provide a more affordable and quicker route than traditional legal remedies.
- Couples that use National Family Mediation typically take just over three months to finalise their divorce or separation while cases that go to court take four times longer.
- National Family Mediation is also considerably more affordable, especially as we are able to offer legal aid to eligible clients in mediation.
- National Family Mediation’s professionally accredited family mediators can help families resolve all the practical, legal, emotional and financial issues that arise from separation. Most importantly, NFM can help families make long lasting arrangements that benefit their children.
National Family Mediation is a proud supporter of National Family Dispute Resolution Week. The initiative, launched today, aims to raise awareness of non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown, such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.
According to a polling carried out by ComRes in 2012, shows that the majority of Britons believe that putting the child’s interests first and avoiding conflict are the top factors to consider when going through a divorce.
Four out of five (78%) say that putting children’s interests first would be their first or second most important consideration in a divorce, and 53% would prioritise making the divorce as conflict-free as possible.
Despite this, over four-fifths of people (81%) believe that children end up being the main casualties of divorce, and 40% believe that divorces can never be without conflict – a figure that rises to nearly half (47%) of those who are currently divorced themselves. In addition, 45% of those surveyed think that most divorces involve a visit to court, despite the increasing availability of non-court alternatives.
Surprisingly, financial factors are not seen as particularly important. Only 1% said that being financially better off than their partner would be the most important consideration should they separate.
As part of Family Dispute Resolution Week, National Family Mediation is promoting a full range of solutions for separating families. This includes promotional activities across England, Wales and the Channe Islands which are designed to help separating couples understand and explore non-court based methods of resolving issues arising on the breakdown of a relationship. This includes free mediation information surgeries at local Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, delivery of information sessions to couples in court and launching new office premises.
Chief Executive Officer of National Family Mediation, Jane Robey states: “Divorce or separation is never easy and families struggle to find the services they need. We help families to identify organisations that can provide the right services in their time of need”
All too often we see families who have struggled to find a solution to their problem and this has often cost them dear, both financially and emotionally. We aim to help parents find services that can help them more quickly so we can save them both time and money – but more importantly – they will be able to move forward with their lives and their children will be secure in the knowledge that both of their parents are working together despite the separation”.
National Family Mediation also has a range of videos which aim to show how family mediation can be beneficial:
- Regular, positive contact with both parents is the best way to bring up children when parents separate. Tanya Victor who went to mediation with the father of her daughter, Georgia, talks about how it has improved life for all of them. John Hickman talks to his children everyday using FaceTime.
- Family mediation helped Martin and Steven come to an amicable arrangement over property and pensions when their civil partnership broke down.
- Brenda and her husband divorced using mediation, and they still live in the same house.
- Terry and Susan Selby are divorcing after 30 years of marriage. Mediation has saved them thousands of pounds by sorting out a problem with their pension that neither of their solicitors had spotted.
- Tricia Mason went to family mediation 15 years ago. She talks about how her two children have regular contact with their father. Her daughter Kate grew up with her parents living apart, and she talks about how important it has been for her to have contact with both parents over the years.
Please remember that legal aid is still available for family mediation.
All NFM Mediators are professionals with a wealth of skills and experience in family mediation and conflict resolution. They deliver family mediation at the highest accredited standard. All are qualified to provide legally aided family mediation on behalf of the Legal Aid Agency.
More people throw in the towel on their relationship in the first week of January than at any other time, as the stress of having to “enjoy” a family Christmas proves too much. National Family Mediation (NFM) welcomes the government’s recognition that mediation should be the first port of call for anyone looking to separate or divorce.
National Family Mediation is the largest provider of family mediation in the country. We carry out 16, 000 mediations a year and have 83% success rate. We deliver from 300 locations throughout England and Wales. All our mediators are trained in conflict resolution and family law.
Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation, says “We welcome the government’s initiatives in making mediation the first port of call for couples separating or divorcing. In particular we welcome any additional funding for mediation which gives people the chance to make their own informed decisions about property, finance and children”
Mediation is four times quicker and cheaper than going to court and allows parents to agree long term arrangements for their children. Research shows that both parents are more likely to have good relationships with their children over the long term if they go to mediation rather than court when they separate or divorce.
Legal aid will still be available for mediation after legal aid is cut for family solicitors in April 2013.
Find your local NFM mediation provider
For further information and case studies please contact Judy Aslett
National Audit Office figures on legally-aided mediation show that the average time for a mediated case to be completed is 110 days, compared to 435 days for court cases on similar issues. Mediation is also cheaper than going to court – data from Legal Aid cases show the average cost per client of mediation is £535 compared to £2,823 for cases going to court.
Family mediation can help improve communication, help you make decisions about future arrangements for the children and help you make decisions about property and finance as it affects your separation.