DIVORCING couples are turning their backs on mediation and once again resorting to the courts to sort out their divorce, according to Swindon lawyer Andrew Kingston.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that between April and June last year, the number of divorcing couples attending a mediation information and assessment meeting fell by 47 per cent, compared to the same period in 2012.

Additionally, the number of couples starting family mediation sessions fell by 26 per cent over the same period.

Andrew Kingston, a family law specialist with Swindon firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall, said the fall in mediation coincides with cuts to the Government’s legal aid budget, which has meant legal aid is now only available to divorcing couples in cases where domestic violence is involved.

“The numbers show that the Government has achieved exactly the opposite of what it intended to do,” says Andrew Kingston.

“The intention was to persuade couples to attempt mediation before applying to the court. However, by this stage it is often too late in the process.

“With the cuts in legal aid, many people no longer have access to legal advice and have fewer options – this is resulting in more applications to the court, often with people acting as litigants in person.”