Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Mediation is better – couples told
Thousands of separating couples are being urged to spurn confrontational courtroom battles and use mediation to sort out disputes over their property, finances and children.
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes has called on parents and couples who have made the difficult decision to divorce to use mediation to sort out disputes over their property, finances and children, rather than face the stressful experience of going to court.
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said: “Mediation works in helping to sort out disputes over finances and children. We are committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.
“These figures show thousands of people are sadly still divorcing each year. We want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them in the courts.”
Mediation involves using negotiation to reach agreements which both people are prepared to live with, rather than having them dictated by the court. It is led by a trained and certified mediator and couples can ask a court to consider and make their agreement into a legally binding and enforceable court order.
The Government has introduced major changes in the Children and Families Act that makes sure separating parents and couples have to first consider using mediation to resolve the issues around divorce and separation – like splitting finances and property or agreeing child contact times – rather than fighting over it in court.
The new law came into effect on 22 April 2014, changing the process so that a person who wants to apply for a court order regarding a children or financial matter must first attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). Exemptions from this requirement will apply, such as where there is evidence of domestic violence.
Research shows that mediation can help people to reach solutions more quickly and cheaply and that couples who use mediation are less likely to need to return to the legal system to sort out ongoing issues. As it is a less confrontational process than taking a battle to court, it is also less traumatic for any children involved.
At Royds, our family law experts can advise on many aspects surrounding divorce and separation.
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