Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 22nd January 2024

Law Firm Suggests Families Consider Mediation.

With Family Mediation Week coming up on 22nd January, family law practitioners want to raise awareness of the many advantages of mediation, as statistics show court case duration reaches an all-time high.

Hull and York family law firm, Rollits, is taking this opportunity to urge families to consider mediation for their disputes and issues to save them time, money, and stress. This comes after recent Family Court Statistics, which depict a record high for court case length.

Family Mediation Week - 22nd-26th January 2024 – serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits family mediation can bring to separating families. The aim is to encourage separating couples to consider mediation in order to create a more amicable split, where both parties can take control and make decisions together for the future.

Taking a deep dive into the Family Court statistics over the past 10+ years, it is clear that the more traditional process is both time consuming and costly for families. The latest data shows that the 5-year average for court cases to close stands at 34 weeks for private law (children and finance) matters.
This is the highest 5-year average ever recorded, with 5-year averages as follows:

2011-15: 30 weeks
2012-16: 28 weeks
2013-17: 26 weeks
2014-18: 25 weeks
2015-19: 25 weeks
2016-20: 26 weeks
2017-21: 30 weeks
2018-22: 34 weeks

Even more shockingly, the most recent data – released in December 2023 - pertaining to Q3 (July to September) of 2023 reveals that the average number of weeks taken to conclude a case in 2023 was 46 weeks (around 10 months). If Q4 continues this way, we’re looking at a 5-year average of 38 weeks this year.

In comparison, the Family Mediation Council says it usually takes between three and five mediation meetings to come to an agreement, depending on what you need to sort out.

As such, the upcoming national Family Mediation Week is the perfect opportunity to inform families of the many facets of mediation. In fact, families can consider utilising this forum for the following issues:

Parenting arrangements for children
Direct consultation with children
Grandparents contact arrangements
Financial issues – including division of assets and income
Pre Nuptial Issues
Post Nuptial Issues
Cohabitation Issues
Separation Issues
Divorce and separation
How to communicate with each other

Alison Benson
Alison Benson
Alison Benson, Partner and Head of Family at Rollits, said:
“Family law issues are almost always stressful for everyone involved, and have the potential to be incredibly divisive. If each individual situation does not receive the utmost care and bespoke treatment, it can leave families suffering irreparably.

"Not only this, but families may be left out of pocket, as lengthy court cases can cost a huge amount of money, as well as taking up unnecessary time. This further adds to the pressure of the situation.

"Family courts can be a rather restrictive way of coming to a solution; a clinical process that may not consider the emotions at play. Alternatively, family mediation offers an impartial party who can guide families to a solution that works for them and their family, that they both feel is fair. It allows them to not only solve the current problems afoot, but to look forward to a future that is bright and hopeful.”