New family mediation service launched


Simpson Millar has launched a mediation service to help families and couples solve disputes in a sensitive and cost effective manner.

January is notoriously a busy time for divorces but, through mediation, the process could be far less expensive than expected. Although general perception suggests divorce to be expensive, difficult and time consuming, there are ways for separating spouses to part ways amicably and cost effectively.

Family Law Experts

Since April 2011 divorcing couples have been required by law to consider mediation as a first port of call. Nonetheless the majority of cases still end up in court although a growing number of people are embracing alternative routes.

"Dialogue is absolutely crucial in solving family disputes and we are now able to provide a positive space where both parties can feel safe and able to communicate," said Emma Pearmaine who is Head of Family Law at Simpson Millar.

In contrast to collaborative law where the divorcing couple attends a meeting flanked by their own lawyers, a mediation session is chaired by an independent family solicitor - tasked with guiding both parties to a fair and sensible agreement. Qualified family mediators are trained specifically to work with disputing or divorcing parties and help them find a compromise which works for everyone involved.

Emma explains: "Family mediation is about facilitating healthy discussion; not about being a referee or taking sides. It can be an incredibly helpful process - especially where children are involved. By encouraging people to consider what matters most, a fruitful conversation can begin to take shape."

"Mediation in family cases demands an extremely sensitive approach to reach an outcome which both parties feel is fair. Emotions can run high and the mediator must be able to encourage dialogue without alienating either one."

Family mediators undergo extensive training before qualifying to ensure they are equipped to handle emotionally charged situations which could otherwise challenge the safety of both adults and children. They must have the ability to diffuse strong frustrations and anger before the parties leave the session.

Emma says: "Financial circumstances increasingly dictate that couples remain living under one roof during the divorce process. In some cases that can create a very hot bed of emotions and the mediator must be prepared to deal with that. Luckily the mediation forum is extremely helpful in helping people come to terms with the situation, take responsibility for their role in the divorce and begin to plan for the future."

Family mediation in divorce cases typically requires three to four mediation sessions and according to Simpson Millar's figures, more than 50% are successful in producing a positive result.

"There is no question that mediation is a cost effective route through a divorce and all couples should give it serious consideration if they find themselves on the verge of a break-up," says Emma.

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