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Mediation scheme made permanent

Separating couples heading to court in the Island will in future be urged to try mediation first.

A new scheme aims to help couples reach agreement over their children, property and finances when a relationship breaks down - avoiding a lengthy and stressful legal battle.

Mediators will be on duty whenever the Family Court is sitting, with experts on hand to help parting couples find common ground, especially over the care of children.

A pilot project at the Douglas court complex since Christmas has now been made permanent and will be run jointly with the Manx Family Mediation Network.

Mediator John Kermode says the new approach aims to end the courtroom 'blame game' - and he admits that will be hard work:

It's expected mediated divorce and separation will cost clients less than the traditional legal approach.

It will also be available to those on legal aid.

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