When a relationship breaks down and a family splits, there may be feelings of acrimony and ill-feeling, with little appetite from either party to sit down and discuss plans for separation.
As emotions run high, the thought of sensible discussions about future arrangements may initially seem far less appealing than simply employing a solicitor to “fight your corner”.
However, courtroom battles can go on for months or years and cost thousands of pounds, not to mention the impact of the accompanying emotional trauma on the parties.
Instead, there is a potentially quicker, cheaper and far less stressful option available that helps you stay in control and secure a more positive outcome all round. This is particularly important if there are children.
Mediation provides an opportunity to take stock, resolve differences and explore the options available on a range of issues including:
• Child arrangements (sometimes called custody, residence or contact)
• Finances (for example, what to do with your house, savings, pension and debts).
Mediation can also be helpful when arrangements you’ve made before need to change, particularly as your children grow up.
However, despite the many benefits – and the Government making it obligatory to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before pursuing any legal route – tens of thousands of families are still using the battleground of the courtroom to play out their divorce and separation drama, at a high cost to their own and their children’s mental health.
Cafcass – the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – revealed in November that 30% of the 40,599 private law applications in relation to children, which had already involved CAFCASS in 2016/17, had already previously been to court.
Talking these situations through in a more sensitive environment like family mediation could have altered the outcomes, potentially avoiding the need for court at all.
This week is Family Mediation Week, during which the many benefits of mediation are publicised and awareness is raised, particularly around the implications for children, who are often the victims when warring partners refuse to sit down and discuss future arrangements together. The long-term effects of a nasty divorce can lead to mental health issues in the children right through to adulthood.
How can Gotelee help?
Ivana Radovic, Gotelee’s trained mediator, has a wealth of experience in working with couples to find a solution suitable to both parties, including issues around living in the same property, making arrangements for children and resolving long-term financial settlements.
Ivana, who mediates for couples throughout Suffolk and North-Essex, can guide you through the whole process, helping you work through the issues and reach a conclusion that works for everyone.
To find out more, contact Ivana on 01473 298158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.