More than 27,000 separating families have saved money, protected their children and avoided lengthy, expensive and combative courtroom battles, thanks to a £23 million government scheme.

The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme provides funding to help families navigate the complexities of separation, giving them the opportunity to settle issues around childcare and finances outside of court.

Separating couples work with expert Mediators to reach agreements with less conflict and greater emphasis on the voices of children.

So far two-thirds of couples have reached agreement without the need to go to court.

Families can get up to £500 towards their mediation from the government.

Traditional courtroom battles usually take nearly a year to reach a resolution. On average families using Mediators only need two sessions to reach an agreement, lasting a total of three hours.

However, mediation will remain voluntary: the government has decided it will not to change the law to make mediation compulsory.

The sessions are flexible and arranged when it’s convenient for the whole family, providing a better solution than fixed court dates.

It can be hard but experienced Mediators are there to make the process easy and less confrontational.

When children are exposed to intense and poorly-resolved parental conflict, it can have a devastating impact on their wellbeing.

However, there are only 350 specialist child-inclusive Mediators across England and Wales.