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Mediation service sees calls to its helpline double in past year

Staff at National Family Mediation have seen the number of calls to their telephone helpline more than double in the past year.

NFM notes that whilst the number of new private law cases fell by almost a third between April 2014 and March 2015 [but have risen by 16% in the last three months], its helpline took an average of over 3,400 calls in each month from January to June 2015, up from 1,600 calls each month during the same period in 2014.

Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation, said:

"The cuts to legal aid mean the routes separating couples are taking as they try to reach settlements are becoming more convoluted.

"Before the legal aid cuts, solicitors would very often provide separating couples with some legal advice, and refer them to family mediation to reach vital settlements on property, finance and parenting.

"It may be that the government's policy, to divert people away from the legal process to mediate instead, is actually beginning to work. Couples are increasingly self-researching their options, and this is reflected the huge increase in calls to dispute resolution specialists on our telephone helpline.

"Our experience tells us people are cogitating, calculating and considering their next move. Our experts are helping more families in crisis than ever before and it's a challenge to meet the soaring demand."