Is there such a thing as a good divorce?
4:00pm 22nd April 2014
The government hopes changes to the law surrounding separating couples will make divorce simpler, cheaper and less stressful.
Surrey has one of the highest rates for divorce in the country.
From today couples will have to formally consider mediation before heading to court.
Euan Davidson from Godalming Family Mediation says it will make it easier:
“They can avoid a lot of the expense, the heartache and the stress that would be involved if they are going to argue via solicitors.
“The couple may never go near a court but they will still spend many months or years – and tens of thousands of pounds – disputing it.
“Much of that can be avoided if they both decide to go into mediation early.
“Mediation is aimed at keeping everything as amicable as possible, so that in the future, there won’t be continual fighting for the rest of their lives.
“People have children for all of their lives, so everything from future weddings, school evenings, there are so many flashpoints that could occur.
“Mediation is designed to steer everyone away from that and get towards a co-parenting model if possible.”
Euan welcomed the changes that have come into force:
“This is a crucial and welcome change in the law around divorce and separation. From 22 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.”