Consider mediation before heading for divorce courts

Date: Tuesday 6th February 2018

EDEN parents considering divorce are being urged to ease conflict for their children by considering mediation before heading to the courts.

A leading family lawyer is holding a number of free initial consultations in Cumbria for anyone needing help and advice with separation and family law issues.

More than 100,000 couples filed for divorce in 2016 and it is now estimated that one in three children is likely to experience parental separation before the age of 16 — going to court to resolve issues can polarise parents creating additional tensions often picked up by children.

Experienced solicitor Amanda Merrick, who will bring her practice to Cumbria this week, said it is important couples understand all options for resolving their dispute.

She added: "Mediation is a more informal way to resolve the conflicts and issues that can arise.

"In particular it can be a very useful forum to address issues relating to children so often driven by emotional factors, which the Family Court is unable to resolve.

"Most agreements need some give and take on both sides. Even so an agreed outcome is almost always preferable to the imposition of a solution by a judge."

Participants in mediation are usually advised to take legal advice, both during the process and on any proposals that are agreed, however Merrick Solicitors strongly recommend that legal advice should also be obtained before entering mediation for the best chance of success.

Amanda said: "A person faced with a relationship issue should seek properly informed legal advice to help them understand their position, decide the best forum for resolution of their dispute and, if that is mediation, to be referred to the best person to conduct that process on their behalf."

Mediation is a voluntary process, conducted by an impartial mediator, and it is also confidential except if there are concerns of harm to a child or vulnerable adult.

If an agreement is reached it should be presented to a judge for approval in the form of a consent application.

Amanda will be holding the free initial consultations on Friday in Cumbria and she can be contacted on 0161 8385410 or by e-mail: infomerrick-solicitors.com