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Mediation service in demand

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A Shrewsbury law firm has reported that more and more separating couples are turning to mediation as an alternative to taking court proceedings, a Shrewsbury legal firm has reported.

Wace Morgan Solicitors, based in Belmont, has a team of trained mediators and support staff and is finding that its services are in demand.

The firm is now taking part in a national initiative aimed at promoting mediation to a wider audience.

“It is Family Dispute Resolution Week between November 25 and 29 and we are using the event to highlight all the options available to separating couples, including a range of cost-effective alternatives to litigation,” explained Cathy Swan, who leads Wace Morgan Family Mediation Service.

“Legal Aid is not now available for the majority of divorce cases but the government has put an increasing emphasis on mediation, with Legal Aid still being offered for this type of work.

“We have seen a big increase in Shropshire people coming to us for mediation, with a high percentage of these cases reaching a successful outcome,” she said.

Mediation involves a qualified and independent mediator helping couples make their own arrangements for their children or dividing their assets without the need to go to court.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice this year suggested that the mediation route takes about a quarter of the time it takes to go through the divorce courts and could be eight times cheaper.

This is based on figures for Legal Aid cases, which show that the average cost of using publicly funded mediation in 2012 was about £500, compared with £4,000 for issues settled through the courts, while the average time for a mediated case is 110 days, compared to 435 days for non-mediated cases.

“Not only is it cheaper and quicker, but this way of dealing with matters reduces conflict and hopefully helps the couple to at least keep a civilised relationship for the future,” Cathy added.

Wace Morgan now has a specialist mediation team who work with separating couples in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Welshpool, Newtown, Telford, Cannock, Stafford and Church Stretton.

For further information please contact Cathy Swan 01743 280 158