Family Mediation Week – 23rd to 27th January 2017
It is that time of year again, when we all wish each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I join this chorus in hoping that you and your family enjoy the festive season.
However, as a mediator, I am aware that this can be a difficult time for many families. As I wrote this time last year, there are a lot of family law professionals who have observed that the weeks following New Year often involve a flood of new enquiries from couples, parents and individuals who have reached the difficult decision that their relationships were not as happy as they would have liked over the festive period, resulting in a spike in separations and divorces in January.
Indeed, this was the logic for holding the first ever Family Mediation Week last year and, whilst I am still of the view that we should hold this over the summer when the sun is hopefully shining in order to distinguish the family mediation process from the less friendly litigation options, it is time to let you know that Family Mediation Week is back again from 23rd to 27th January 2017.
The chosen theme for the upcoming week is “I wish my parents had known about family mediation” and there should be lots of information coming out around the country linked to this theme between now and the end of January.
There is definitely a great swell of support for ensuring that children’s best interests are always considered whenever a separation or divorce is taking place and, as a mediator who is trained in meeting with children as part of the mediation process, I am well aware of the importance of speaking with children when all parties, including the children themselves, feel that this would be helpful.
However, I am also very aware of the importance of ensuring that children are protected from the negative emotions and adult issues that often surround a separation and, more often than not, the most effective way to do this is to make sure that the children become a focal point of all discussions with the parents without actually taking the step of involving them directly in the mediation process.
These discussions with the parents can focus on all the wider issues relating to the future of the relationship (including whether to start the divorce process as amicably as possible), future living arrangements and options for financial settlement, alongside anything else that both parties feel would be beneficial to discuss including in relation to their children.
So, if you find yourself questioning your current relationship, I hope that your first port of call will be a mediator in order to maximise the chances of keeping the process as amicable as possible for everyone, including any children who might be affected.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about the mediation process and, in the meantime, I wish you all A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
Tel: 01483 339379