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Family Mediation and Collaborative Divorce - A Peaceful Approach to Separation

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by Judith Wheeler 27th February 2024

Separation and divorce can be an emotional and financial strain for all parties involved, especially when there are children of the family to consider. The conflict which can sometimes feature in traditional litigation can leave families feeling bitter and resentful. There are, however, alternative options available that promote a more amicable and conciliatory approach to separation such as Family Mediation and Collaborative Divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to traditional litigation with an emphasis on cooperation and problem-solving. In a Collaborative divorce, each party is represented by their own Collaboratively trained solicitor. The solicitors work together with the couple to negotiate and reach a settlement with the commitment that neither of them will resort to making an application to the Court. The process involves a series of meetings at which both parties and their lawyers discuss and resolve issues arising from the separation.

Couples can have access to a team of professionals within the Collaborative process including financial advisors, child specialists and therapists who can provide guidance and support through the process. This is an interdisciplinary approach which ensures that all aspects of the separation are addressed and considered.

Family Mediation

Family Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party (the Mediator) assists couples in dispute to hopefully communicate and negotiate agreed terms more effectively. The mediator facilitates discussions either face-to-face or remotely and can assist in finding solutions that are acceptable to both parties. Mediation can be used to address a wide range of issues including child arrangements and financial matters arising from a separation. The goal of family mediation is to empower couples to make their own decisions and reach agreements that are in the best interests of their family. Where child arrangements are being discussed, some mediators are able to offer Child inclusive mediation to allow the child’s voice to be heard.

Where does your family solicitor fit in?

  • Your family solicitor can make a referral to mediation for you.

  • Provide advice to you in parallel to the mediation regarding the terms being discussed.

  • Assist with the drafting of Parenting Agreements or Consent Orders to formalise the terms of the agreement that has been negotiated in mediation.

  • Can attend the mediation sessions themselves in a hybrid mediation to support and advise you during the mediation process.

The benefits of Collaborative Divorce and Mediation:

  • Confidentiality – Each approach provides a safe and confidential space for couples to discuss their concerns and explore potential solutions. It allows couples to maintain their privacy.

  • Cost-effective – A Collaborative Divorce or mediation is generally more cost-effective than litigation and funding contested Court proceedings.

  • Faster resolution. Collaborative Divorce and Mediation can often lead to a quicker resolution compared to Court proceedings which can be lengthy and time-consuming. This allows couples to move forward with their lives and minimise the emotional toll of prolonged legal disputes.

  • Preservation of relationships – There is an emphasis on open communication and cooperation which can help preserve relationships especially when there are children involved. It encourages couples to work together and remain child-focused which can assist in forging a healthy co-parenting relationship.

  • Control over the process - Couples have more control over the outcome of their case as they are involved in the decision-making process and can tailor the agreement to meet their specific needs or concerns.

  • Less Adversarial - Collaborative Divorce and mediation encourage cooperation and open communication between separating couples. This can help reduce conflict and create a more positive environment for resolving disputes.

Family Mediation and Collaborative Divorce offer couples a more peaceful and constructive way to navigate the challenges of separation. By choosing mediation or Collaborative Divorce couples can seek to minimise conflict, preserve relationships and prioritise the wellbeing of their children. If you are considering separation or divorce then it is worth exploring these options to find a resolution that works for you and your family.

Our family solicitors at TFS regularly work with mediators. If you ever find yourself needing assistance with family mediation services, get in touch with us today.

This blog was written by Director and Family Lawyer Judith Wheeler. Judith is based at our Leamington Spa office and can undertake work in all areas of Family Law, including Collaborative Divorce. Click here to see her ReviewSolicitors profile, where she is rated 5/5 stars.