It is really encouraging to see that Eagle Radio are continuing to cover the very important law changes to the use of family mediation that came in last week. This article covers views from both Euan Davidson at Godalming Family Mediation and Eileen Pereira at Surrey Family and Mediation Services. I am very pleased to see that, as mediators, we are managing to raise awareness of the family mediation process and it is my hope that, in Surrey and further afield, we will all be able to work together in order to enable us to reach a point where family mediation becomes the first port of call for the vast majority of couples facing divorce or separation amongst other family law issues.
Avoiding the courtroom drama – through mediation
7:00am 26th April 2014
Surrey has one of the highest divorce rates in the UK.
Around 42% of marriages end in separation.
This week, the Government passed a law saying separating parents and couples now need to have formally considered mediation before going to court.
It is designed to make the process less painful, and less expensive.
Surrey Family and Mediation Services’ Eileen Pereira tells Eagle why mediation is best: “Mediation takes about a third of the time that it takes to go through court so that’s a good thing.
“But if you do go to court, under the new law, it is my understanding that you won’t be able to go repeatedly as you have been in the past, so you’ve really got to get it right and you’ve got to get an agreement you can work with.”
She has this advice: “Leave your egos outside the door.
“This is most important where children are concerned because what you want is to find a way forward that leaves you moving into the future.
“Mediation is about the future, it is not about the past. It’s not about thrashing out who did what. It’s about going forward into the future as two independent people.”
Euan Davidson from Godalming Family Mediation said: “This is a crucial and welcome change in the law around divorce and separation.
“From 22nd April, anybody wanting to apply for a court order which relates to children or financial matters must first attend a mediation and assessment meeting.
“Mediation is a less draconian route to take than going straight to a divorce lawyer as well as being considerably less expensive.
“Trained Mediators use negotiation to reach agreements which both parties are prepared to live with, rather than having them dictated by the court.
“Couples can ask a court to consider and make their agreement into a legally binding and enforceable court order.
“The new law is designed to remove the stress from divorce proceedings by trying to avoid cases ending up in court at all.
“I am very positive that this change will allow us finally to reach the point where mediation becomes the automatic first choice for most divorcing and separating couples with litigation being the last resort.
“This will bring tremendous benefits to so many people and hopefully reduce the number of times that people say to me that they wish that had known about or been able to use family mediation as part of their separation proceedings.”