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Family law: £2million support package for separating couples

Separating couples will be helped by a new £2million package of support aimed at avoiding expensive and confrontational courtroom battles.

After the major changes to the family court in April this year and the recent announcement in July of a free mediation session for separating couples, the government is announcing further initiatives to help people in the family and civil justice system.

A new package of support has been developed aimed at keeping disputes away from court and providing better support for those who do end up in court.

The new support will include:

• Improving online information so that it is accurate, engaging and easy to find.
• A new strategy agreed between the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the legal and advice sectors which will increase legal and practical support for litigants in person in the civil and family courts
• New ‘supporting separating parents in dispute helpline’ pilot run by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) to test a more joined-up and tailored out-of-court service

Justice Minister Simon Hughes said that he is committed to making sure that when people separate that they do it in the best possible way.

“Too many people end up fighting expensive and confrontational court battles and I am determined that more people resolve their problems outside of the courts,” he said.

“However when people do end up in court it is imperative that they have the right advice and information.

“One of my priorities when I became a Minister was to improve the availability of legal advice, and these new measures will make sure that separating couples and parents are able to access the right advice, information and support at the right time.

“The government will improve online information for separating couples including on the websites “Sorting Out Separation” and GOV.UK to make sure these include all key information and guidance.”

A court support service for litigants in person will be introduced in civil and family cases.

The service will begin in selected court centres with the aim of rolling out across England and Wales.

It will help those who need to go to court to access practical support and information and provide them with a route to free or affordable legal advice.

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