The new rules, which will come into effect in April, will make it compulsory for divorcing couples to examine the benefits of mediation before going to court.
The use of meditative approaches often saves much trauma and expense.
The National Audit Office estimates, on average, savings of over £2000 in legal costs. Mediated cases are also completed in an average of 110 days as opposed to 435 days for couples that settle their issues in court.
However the Manchester based family lawyer cites a drawback that could scupper the new legislation that will otherwise free up court time and save money.
Grunfeld states: “Even if one partner refuses mediation, it will still be seen that the couple has gone through the process. There is a danger many people might take this option and so the initiative will have a limited effect.”
Grunfeld continues: “The number of couples using publicly funded mediation is up to 14,600 in 2010 from 400 in 1997, so we have to be optimistic that divorcing couples will give mediation a try.”
Neil is an accredited member of Resolution, a professional body that promotes meditative and collaborative approaches to law.
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