Legal Aid’s COVID-19 Mediation Scheme
It has been a trying time for many families during the recent COVID-19 restrictions.
Legal Aid has recognised that some families who formerly had parenting arrangements face challenges with those arrangements as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Legal Aid have introduced the new Mediation Scheme to assist with new arrangements where the usual parenting arrangements have been disrupted by the recent Pandemic.
For example, parents who live on opposite sides of a State Border, where the borders have been closed, may not be able to continue with the previous parenting arrangements. Legal Aid's Mediation Scheme will try to resolve these types of issues.
The Scheme provides for a 2 hour Mediation service which allows the parties to negotiate new arrangements once they meet Legal Aid's eligibility requirements which are:-
- The parties had an Informal Parenting Agreement in place; and
- Those arrangements have been disrupted by the COVID-19 restrictions.
As with all other Legal Aid grants, the participants in the new Mediation Scheme must apply for funding from Legal Aid.
Legal Aid have indicated that the usual means test will be more generous. Legal Aid will also need to be satisfied that a Mediation would assist the parties in resolving the new parenting issues created by the COVID-19 restrictions.
Legal Aid have indicated that if the parties meet the requirements for the funding for the new Mediation Scheme, approval should come through within 2 weeks of the Application for Funding being made.
If parties participate in the new Mediation Scheme, and reach an agreement for a temporary parenting arrangement during the COVID-19 restrictions, that agreement can either be formally entered into or be a more informal arrangement which would be reviewed at some specified time in the future. If the temporary arrangements are working well they may become more permanent.
If you, or someone you know wishes to participate in the new Legal Aid Mediation Scheme, please contact one of the members of our experienced Family Law Team at Lamrocks to discuss your situation.