At Focus Mediation our Lawyer Mediators collectively have many years of experience supporting separating or divorcing couples. We asked them what advice they would give to a close friend experiencing divorce.
Mary Banham-Hall FMCA – Family Mediator & Collaborative Family Lawyer
You and your children will hurt enough without fighting, so don’t let conflict take over. Remember what’s important and focus on that. ALSO Working out what to do together helps you both and is definitely the way to go. Yes, it’s hard but worth it – and with a mediator’s help you can do it!
Emma Bugg FMCA – Family Mediator & Collaborative Family Lawyer
I would recommend they read the Separated Parents Information Programme ‘SPIP’ and Resolution “Helping parents to help children” handbook and to read as many other resources as possible to find out how best to navigate a way forward that works for their children and enables them to continue their parenting role as best they can.
Jane Leadbeater – Family Mediator
Try mediation. It can help you to resolve issues quickly and at much less financial and emotional cost than negotiations between solicitors or court proceedings.
Rachel Lander – Family Mediator
Lots of people seek the support of counselling when their marriage breaks down. A counsellor can really help you in working through the difficult feelings and emotions that you may face. In turn this can assist you in approaching practical issues, such as where you will all live, how the bills will be paid, emotion – and money – and add to your stress. There are many alternative ways to civilly reach agreement with your ex: mediation (coupled with advice from a solicitor as the mediation progresses) will provide a forum to explore issues, future pension provision etc., in a more pragmatic and calmer way.
Remember that you don’t have to ‘fight’ or ‘have your day in court’. Both of those approaches will drain you of much needed energy in a safe environment and to reach proposals that in a lot of cases can be put before the court by post and made into a binding court order.
If there is an insurmountable blockage that can’t be resolved in mediation, then consider arbitration as an alternative to court proceedings. An independent arbitrator who is picked by you and your ex (usually an arbitration trained Barrister or Solicitor) will act like a Judge, on a private basis, and can deal with matters in a more flexible way than traditional court proceedings including incorporating mediation into the arbitration itself.
Elaine Clarke FMCA – Family Mediator
Don’t rush into agreeing anything. Mediation will help you – it’s a cheaper alternative to court – but also be guided by legal advice. I believe with the help of a mediator, separating couples can make their own arrangements for separating, rather than battling through the courts. This is usually much better for them and their families, as well as being quicker and costing less, both financially and emotionally.
Sara Stoner FMCA – Family Mediator
Feeling hurt and angry is normal and to be expected. You can’t change the past and you won’t agree on it. Focusing on your future enables you to move forward and find peace. A court battle won’t make you feel any better and you will regret wasting so much time and money. Don’t dismiss mediation just because you don’t get along. Mediation is a safe space to have difficult but necessary conversations that you haven’t managed to have. Decide your own future and resolve matters quickly and cost efficiently. Your children need you to sort out finances so they aren’t caught up in a toxic situation. It’s not the divorce that harms children; it’s the prolonged parental conflict.
Caroline Friend FMCA – Family Mediator & Collaborative Family Lawyer
This is one of the worst times in your life, so don’t be surprised if you are overwhelmed with difficult emotions. The trick is to try to put those emotions on one side when you are looking at your financial settlement, and when you are making arrangements for the children. So far as finances go, maybe jot down how you would like your life to look
in one year’s time; two years time, five years time: generate some thoughts on how you can best develop your independence while supporting the family. As for the children: what do you want to avoid; what do you want to aim for for them? How would you like them to look back on this difficult period in their lives? What can you do to make sure they continue to grow up with good relationships with both their parents and
don’t feel caught up in the conflict?
Call us on 01908 231132 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to book a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) (11 Locations: Milton Keynes, Bedford, Broxbourne, Hemel Hempstead, London, Northampton, Oxford, Potters Bar, St Albans, Harrow and Watford).
Read more about family mediation at: www.focus-mediation.co.uk