Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said mediation was “a quicker, cheaper and more amicable alternative” to the over-worked family courts.
The measures for England and Wales, focused on child custody and financial disputes, come into force on 6 April. Domestic violence and child protection cases will still go to court.
Mr Djanogly said: “Nearly every time I ask someone if their stressful divorce battle through the courts was worth it, their answer is ‘no’.
“Mediation already helps thousands of legally aided people across England and Wales every year, but I am concerned those funding their own court actions are missing out on the benefits it can bring.
“Now everyone will have the opportunity to see if it could be a better solution than going straight to court.”
The minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme statistics suggested that more than two-thirds of couples who took up mediation were “satisfied with the results”.
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