Family Mediation Voucher Scheme

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) launched a voucher scheme in response to Covid-19 to support recovery in the Family Court and to encourage more people to consider mediation as a means of resolving their family disputes.  The voucher will provide a  financial contribution towards the mediation costs for eligible cases to support people in resolving their family disputes outside of court, where appropriate.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a process where a trained independent mediator helps you work out arrangements with another participant (e.g. an ex-partner) concerning children, finance or property in a confidential setting.

The mediator can help you work through disagreements and find solutions that work for your family.  The mediator can explain how to make the agreement you reach legally binding, should you wish to do so.

When you make an application for a Court Order in relation to many types of family law disputes, you must show the court that you considered family mediation, by having attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM).

What is the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme?

The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme was set up to reduce pressure on the Family Court system, supporting more people in mediation to resolve their disputes.  To date more than 27,000 separating families have benefitted from the voucher.  Most families are able to resolve their issues between themselves without the need to go to Court, however, too many separating couples still end up in conflict and more than 60,000 private law children and contested finance cases ended up in the courts in 2022 alone.

The voucher is a one off financial contribution of up to £500 towards the costs of mediation to help couples reach decisions about their children.  The scheme is designed to support parents to communicate and make decisions, where it is safe to do so and where decisions are capable of being made without intervention of the Court.

Families encounter a justice system that can, at times, reinforce that conflict, pitting parents against each other to ‘win’ an unnecessary and destructive legal battle. Evidence clearly shows that these strung-out separations are especially damaging for children with effects that can last a lifetime. Since the start of the scheme, mediation has reported a 69% success rate, meaning the families who attended mediation did not go to Court.

Where there is a will to reach a mutual agreement, mediation can be a very successful route to resolving disputes for many families. The government will continue to support the scheme, investing up to £23.6 million until March 2025.

Family Mediation Voucher Scheme

When you attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM), your mediator will assess whether the issues are suitable for mediation, which include issues relating to children or a dispute regarding family financial matters which must relate to a child

Both participants must attend the assessment meeting. This will take place via video link and is £100 per session.  The voucher does not cover the cost of this meeting, although does cover the joint sessions and any administration for the documents created out of the joint mediation sessions.

How do I claim the voucher?

When you have been assessed as being eligible, you will be asked to complete the Consent From and the mediator will apply for the funding on your behalf.  The payment will be made direct to the mediation service upon the conclusion of the mediation.

They will only be offered to eligible parties for a limited time. Your mediator will let you know if there are vouchers available.

Benefits of Family Mediation

Family separation is traumatic for all members of the family.  It is a time of uncertainty and emotions are affected when trying to make decisions about the future.  After separation, It can be difficult to talk to each other preventing you both from finding the right solutions for your family.  Mediation provides a safe and supported environment help you consider the best arrangements for your family, including the division of assets and money, and where you and your children will live.

Family mediation helps you to stay in control of the decisions about your family after separation. Conversely, in Court proceedings, a Judge makes the decisions about children and financial arrangements.  Mediation facilitates decision making for the benefit of your family. When it comes to your children, mediation can help you put your child’s interests first and decide together how to help your children through the process and to ensure your children can continue to share a positive relationship with you both.

Mediation can be less stressful, than going to Court, it can happen at your pace and you will not be restricted by Court timetables or delay.  It can be a cost efficient way of resolving disagreements. If you cannot make decisions you both agree on in Mediation, you still retain your right to go to Court. Mediation can still be used even where Court proceedings have been issued and are ongoing.

Family mediation is an ongoing process and always remains an option for families, if  circumstances change and new considerations are necessary, or you may need a safe place to discuss matters as your children grow up or change schools for instance.

The current contribution can help reduce the financial burden upon families as they separate and navigate the future in a different way

As an accredited mediation service, Family Mediation North Wales is participating in the scheme to help separating families with children make their own decisions about their family. Our Paula Dawson is authorised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) and is also qualified  to meet with children.  The voucher can be used to cover the cost of child inclusive mediation.

If you would like more information about the scheme please contact to arrange an appointment with a family mediator.