I was interested to read this article in The Guardian by Emine Saner (23.08.16)*:
“The end of the summer holiday is a peak period for break ups. But now couples are looking for fast and amicable ways to avoid being mired in the blame game, will the law finally catch up?”
There is a private members’ bill to introduce a “no fault” divorce, and Baroness Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, called for it to be introduced.
Football presenter Gary Lineker, whose marriage to his second wife has recently ended, took issue with divorce lawyers. “It’s very easy to get married and very difficult to get divorced,” he said. “And we know that lawyers try to manipulate it to make you spend more money and basically end up hating each other.”
More and more people are choosing to represent themselves. According to a recent survey, around 40% of people no longer use lawyers in their divorces. For all Lineker’s talk of greedy lawyers, this isn’t to be considered a positive development, as it mostly comes on the back of legal aid cuts.
People who represent themselves in divorce cases may not “get the outcomes they might expect or deserve,” says Emma Pearmaine, director of family services at Simpson Millar. It can also slow proceedings down. “[Divorce] is a horrid thing to be experiencing and we need to come to a conclusion as quickly as we can to the benefit of the whole family,” she says.
The consequence of legal aid cuts and people representing themselves is, she says, “affecting a whole generation of children. Previously a parent on a low income might have been eligible to go to court so they can see their child. Now if they’re not eligible, they might have to make an application themselves or they don’t make an application at all. That suggests to me that we have a whole generation of children who are not having the right relationship with both parents.”
What is the solution?
We at Focus Family Mediation would urge all divorcing and separating couples to look to mediation first.
Proven to be much faster and much more cost-effective, mediation is a collaborative process that keeps couples talking through the difficult stuff – because when you’re talking about separating a family, don’t you want to find the least adversarial, quickest and most affordable way? Unlike court proceedings legal aid is available to those whose means meet the financial criteria making mediation free for them.
At Focus we are all accredited by the Family Mediation Council to conduct property, financial, and child arrangement mediations. Most of us are also authorised to consult directly with children so giving children a voice in what happens to them and enabling them to inform their parents’ decisions.
Mediation is what we do. It’s all we do. Please call us. You and your family will be glad you did.
*To read the full article go to : https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/23/divorce-new-rules-splitting-up-amicable-marriage-breakup