Article | Fabulous Women

Keep Calm and Consider your Options

Posted on 24/04/2012

As Katie Price and Katy Perry dominate the headlines, the D-I-V-O-R-C-E (as Dolly Parton would say) is once again in the limelight.
One of the misconceptions however, about divorce, is that it involves a hard fought court battle. In fact, those going through a breakup are, more then ever before, being encouraged to deal with their issues outside of the courtroom.

There are various options open to those facing any family dispute one of which is Mediation.

Mediation involves the couple attending a series of meetings with a qualified Mediator. A Mediator is independent and their role is to help the couple reach agreement. They cannot give advice so it is essential that running alongside the Mediation process, each of the couple has their own legal advice. It is also essential to ensure that the Mediator is properly trained and qualified, for example is a member of The Family Mediators Association (www.thefma.co.uk) or Resolution (www.resolution.org.uk). Both parties then have the opportunity to put forward their understanding of the issues between them and the Mediator then attempts to broker an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, each party then goes off to their respective Solicitors for advice on the agreement and for it to be drawn up into a formal document.

Mediation can be particularly beneficial when dealing with issues regarding the children. A breakup is usually difficult for all concerned and it is hoped that both adults in the relationship can move on to a new life independent from the other person. However, there is one thing that will always keep you linked, the children.

It is vital (even though it can be difficult at the beginning) that parents continue to parent effectively and work together to achieve what is best for the child or children despite the breakdown in their relationship. Talking about issues relating to the children will be necessary beyond a divorce, dissolution or separation; Mediation can offer that much needed support and encouragement to talk, at a time when discussing matters together might not come so naturally.

Before an application can be made to the Court, in respect of either financial or children issues, an independent assessment must normally be made as to whether Mediation might work.

Of course, sometimes, with the best will in the world, it is just not possible, emotionally, or for other reasons, to sit and discuss matters in Mediation. It may be more suitable for the couple to have their lawyers with them while they discuss matters. This is exactly how Collaborative law works. Again, there are a series of meetings and hopefully an agreement can be reached. The legal advisors provide valuable support and advice at those meetings and then a formal document, recording the agreement, can be drawn up.

Sometimes, it is not possible for an agreement to be reached or emotions are such that sitting and talking is just not possible. A specialised family lawyer can still assist in reaching an agreement with the other party either through negotiations in correspondence or over the telephone.

The Courts are there to provide another option to those facing a family dispute and they are there to protect families and to provide fairness. However it doesnt do any of us any harm to remember, its good to talk.

Rachel Lemon is an Associate Solicitor in the top ranking and highly regarded family team at Mundays LLP in Cobham, Surrey. Many of the team are collaboratively trained lawyers and Partners Sarah Duckworth and Graham Coy are also Mediators. Contact Rachel on 01932 590 612 or at rachel.lemon@mundays.co.uk for further information about all family law matters.

Back Author : Charlie Thomas

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