Having watched the behemoth of the family law system struggle to cope with the demands of the modern world, with recent budget cuts leaving it poorly funded and far too reliant on adversarial approaches, it never ceases to amaze me just how few people are aware that there are alternative routes to resolving a family law dispute.
To name but a few, there is the use of collaborative law (with suitably qualified solicitors), early neutral evaluation (to seek a legal opinion from a senior lawyer or judge), arbitration (to seek an out of court ruling on a case) and the use of direct access barristers.
The Benefits of Mediation as a First Step
Whilst all of these routes have their merits, and are very welcome when compared to the traditional route of fighting it out in the court system until the bitter the end, the message that is still missing is that, in the vast majority of situations, the first port of call should be mediation whenever there is a potential legal dispute. This logic applies whether the matter at hand is a dispute between employee and employer, between companies over a contract, between neighbours or between separating/separated partners.
Not only does mediation offer the opportunity to reach a settlement at a fraction of the cost of legal routes but it also maximises the chances of building bridges rather than burning them down along the way, which is something that is particularly important when there are children to consider. Add in the reduction in stress and the avoidance of the potential ripple effect that a high conflict separation causes friends and extended family members then you start to see why it is so important to consider mediation first not last, even if this requires the initial brave decision to sit down and talk to your ex-partner when the initial instinct is to put as much distance as possible between you and them.
If you are going through a separation or divorce then mediation invariably offers the most cost-effective and amicable way to reach agreements about all the issues that you are facing, including:
- Discussing the options for the future of the relationship.
- Reaching a financial settlement.
- Agreeing the arrangements for your children.
We have flexible meeting times, including evening appointments, at our Godalming office and we are also able to meet you in our office near St Paul’s in central London if that is more convenient for you.
Talk to Godalming Family Mediation
Please contact us to find out more about the mediation process and to arrange your individual meeting to discuss your situation on a confidential basis.
For more information, please download the free “Divorce and separation guide – there is a better way!” and watch the accompanying short videos which can be found on our website – www.godalmingfamilymediation.co.uk
Godalming Family Mediation
1A Church Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1EQ
Tel: 01483 339379