Resolution, the national family lawyers’ organisation, has just launched its manifesto, campaigning for changes which will bring family law up to date with modern families.
One of Resolution’s suggestions is for the Government to make a continued commitment to keep separated families out of court.
There are several methods of resolving family disputes out of court, including collaborative law and mediation. The Government currently supports mediation by making legal aid available to fund mediation for people in receipt of benefits or on a low income. Where one person is eligible for legal aid and the other is not, both are now able to have their first mediation session free of charge.
Here at David Gray, our Resolution trained mediators provide mediation on all family matters including making arrangements for children to spend time with both parents and other family members, and resolving financial issues on separation and divorce. Mediation offers a way to resolve these issues without the need to go through stressful and expensive court proceedings, for which legal aid is usually not available. Our mediators help separating couples to communicate more effectively, and work together to reach a solution which works well for the whole family, putting the needs of any children first.
Collaborative law is another way of resolving issues arising form family breakdown without going through court. Each person has their own specially trained collaborative lawyer to advise them, and discussions take place around the table so that a solution can be found which best meets the needs of the whole family. Other professionals including financial advisors and family consultants can join in to provide advice and support. At the outset, everyone involved, including the lawyers, formally commits to resolving all issues without going through court. This sets a positive tone and provides a clear framework which means the couple can work through their various options without threats like “I’ll see you in Court”.
Separating couples have many decisions and choices to make, and sometimes the amount of information available can seem overwhelming. Here at David Gray we recognise that each family is unique, and what suits one may not be right for another. Our Choosing Options Together meeting allows you and your partner to meet together with one of our experienced team to talk through which option will be most suited to your family. We will give you information about how the various legal processes work, and help you to choose the one which is likely to work best for you and your family.