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Family Law Act 1996

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Resolution of disputesE+W

13 Directions with respect to mediation.E+W

(1)After the court has received a statement, it may give a direction requiring each party to attend a meeting arranged in accordance with the direction for the purpose—

(a)of enabling an explanation to be given of the facilities available to the parties for mediation in relation to disputes between them; and

(b)of providing an opportunity for each party to agree to take advantage of those facilities.

(2)A direction may be given at any time, including in the course of proceedings connected with the breakdown of the marriage (as to which see section 25).

(3)A direction may be given on the application of either of the parties or on the initiative of the court.

(4)The parties are to be required to attend the same meeting unless—

(a)one of them asks, or both of them ask, for separate meetings; or

(b)the court considers separate meetings to be more appropriate.

(5)A direction shall—

(a)specify a person chosen by the court (with that person’s agreement) to arrange and conduct the meeting or meetings; and

(b)require such person as may be specified in the direction to produce to the court, at such time as the court may direct, a report stating—

(i)whether the parties have complied with the direction; and

(ii)if they have, whether they have agreed to take part in any mediation.

14 Adjournments.E+W

(1)The court’s power to adjourn any proceedings connected with the breakdown of a marriage includes power to adjourn—

(a)for the purpose of allowing the parties to comply with a direction under section 13; or

(b)for the purpose of enabling disputes to be resolved amicably.

(2)In determining whether to adjourn for either purpose, the court shall have regard in particular to the need to protect the interests of any child of the family.

(3)If the court adjourns any proceedings connected with the breakdown of a marriage for either purpose, the period of the adjournment must not exceed the maximum period prescribed by rules of court.

(4)Unless the only purpose of the adjournment is to allow the parties to comply with a direction under section 13, the court shall order one or both of them to produce to the court a report as to—

(a)whether they have taken part in mediation during the adjournment;

(b)whether, as a result, any agreement has been reached between them;

(c)the extent to which any dispute between them has been resolved as a result of any such agreement;

(d)the need for further mediation; and

(e)how likely it is that further mediation will be successful.

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