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Divorcing couples are being urged to use mediation to settle their disputes instead of engaging in lengthy court battles. The latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that more than 100,000 people get divorced each year. Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes says mediation can help settle disputes over issues such as money and children. Mediation is conducted by a trained mediator such as a solicitor with the aim of reaching an agreement that suits both parties. This avoids having the terms dictated by the courts. The government is changing the law so that divorcing couples will be obliged to consider mediation before going to court. Mr Hughes said: “Mediation works. We are committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court. “These figures show thousands of people are sadly still divorcing each year. We want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them.” The average cost for divorcing couples to settle disputes through mediation is £500 per person. This is in contrast to the average of £4,000 per person when couples take the matter to court. Please contact Stillwells if you would like more information about mediation or any aspect of family law.