The previous post discussed how legislators in the state of Montana successfully voted down proposed legislation that would have required any couple with children under the age of 18 to undergo at least seven marriage counseling sessions before securing a divorce. Interestingly, the nation of England seems to have an alternate view when it comes to divorce and government mandates, as it is now requiring all couples to undergo mandatory divorce mediation before heading into the courtroom.
According to Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly, the sheer number of divorce-related cases coming before the British courts - 137,000 in 2009 alone - is putting an unsustainable strain on the system and leading to increased costs for litigants.
In light of this scenario, the Ministry of Justice and British judges have reached an agreement whereby every couple seeking to resolve their divorce-related issues must first participate in a divorce mediation session before going to court.
In divorce mediation, the former spouses come together outside of the courtroom to resolve important issues such as spousal support, property division, child support and child custody. The entire process is managed by a neutral third party mediator who works to facilitate both conversation and compromise among the former spouses.
The agreement - which was not memorialized through new legislation - officially goes into effect in April.
Currently, any party in England who applies for government assistance to help cover legal expenses is required to participate in a divorce mediation session. The new agreement will now extend this to all divorcing spouses.
"I am concerned those funding their own court actions are missing out on the benefits it can bring," said Djanogly.
It is worth noting that those divorce-related cases involving child protection or domestic violence issues are exempt from the mediation requirement. Furthermore, free mediation sessions are not available everywhere in England, and can cost upwards of 140 pounds ($230 USD).
If you would like to learn more about divorce meditation, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.
This post is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. This blog will periodically offer posts that communicate significant developments in the area of family law.
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UK divorcing couples must attempt mediation before going to court (The Huffington Post)