Many divorcing or separating couples are unaware that they can still claim Legal Aid to help with mediation.
Mediation has been proven to help those facing divorce or separation to settle practical matters such as issues around finances and children. It has increased in popularity over the last 5 years, with more and more couples now seeing the benefit of this cost effective alternative to litigation and the courts.
The 1st April heralded the start of the biggest changes in the Legal Aid system this country has ever seen. From this date onwards people facing family disputes such as divorce and separation would no longer be able to access Legal Aid through a solicitor unless they had been subject to domestic violence.
Louise Hornagold, Managing Director of Essex Mediation, said:
“The Government is keen to promote mediation and these recent changes to Legal Aid were designed to do just that, the problem is that nobody knows that Legal Aid is still available for those who are found to be eligible for mediation”
There has been no national publicity, there has been no national training for voluntary organisations and there are no plans to change this.”
She went on to say that “Many people are simply missing out on the chance of FREE help”
New legislation is currently going through Parliament which will mean that all couples will have to have to see a mediator before they go to court, and this will be introduced in 2014 but in the meantime a lot of couples who could be benefiting from FREE mediation are missing out.”
Many people do not know what mediation involves and believe that it won’t work for them but the statistics tell a different story. Over 80% of clients who attended mediation in 2012 ended up reaching an agreement.
Clients who come to Essex Mediation will first meet with one of our trained mediators who will asses them for Legal Aid and assess their situation to ascertain if mediation could help. If the client is deemed as eligible then mediation will cost them nothing! As a not for profit organisation and registered charity Essex Mediation make sure their fees are affordable for those who are not eligible. Session fees are fixed and agreed at the outset so no one will face any nasty surprises, payment terms can also be offered where appropriate.
Essex Mediation is running a series of drop in clinics, these will be FREE to attend and will take place at various locations across the county. The clinics will give people the chance to find out what help is available to them if they are separating or divorcing and will give them the chance to see if Mediation could be FREE.
For details on the FREE Advice clinics, or to book an appointment to attend an information and assessment meeting, please contact Essex Mediation on:-
Telephone 01245 492200 or website www.essexmediation.co.uk