MEDIATORS are bracing themselves to deal with record numbers of couples planning to split up this month.
West Yorkshire Family Mediation Service office manager Victoria Joyce said that the service was anticipating a 71% increase, compared with last year. Statistically, January 7 is the date on which more couples throw in the towel on their marriage than any other.
She said: “A lot of couples have spent quite an intensive time together at Christmas, and when New Year arrives, they make the decision that they might want to separate.
“It is sadly a very busy time for us.”
New laws introduced in April 2011 mean that anyone wanting to start divorce court proceedings has to first attend mediation.
Government research shows that mediation costs approximately 25% of a court case and takes a quarter of the time. The service also encourages parents to look to their future and make arrangements for their and their children’s lives.
West Yorkshire mediator Sarah Byrne said: “It’s always better for children if parents can agree on planning for the future after separation, and it enables couples to sort out their break-up relatively quickly and without animosity.
“We work with families from all kinds of backgrounds, from those on legal aid to those with very large pension pots. The key is to reduce the conflict in divorce and avoid couples having to go to court.”