After our clients decided to separate, they used mediation in order to reach an agreement about their long-term financial and family arrangements.
Our clients Amanda and John had lived together (without having married) for nine years and had two young daughters
Having decided it would be best to separate they first tried to reach an agreement through their solicitors. However the process was both costly and contentious and they were eager to draw matters to a conclusion reach an agreement and go their separate ways without further debate and discord.
Initially they took part in mediation regarding their financial matters and were able to come to agreement in a number of areas:
- The sale of their jointly owned home and their contents (furniture and art), and division of the proceeds of sale.
- How their outstanding loans would be ‘shared’ and paid from the sale of their home.
- Child maintenance payment, an issue which had been particularly difficult between them.
Amanda and John both also raised a number of issues relating to their daughters and arranged a separate mediation meeting to deal solely these arrangements.
They both came to that mediation with clear ideas as to what they wanted to achieve and were able, in the space of 2 hours, to air their concerns and agree a schedule of contact for the following twelve months. This covered issues such as holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the children’s birthdays, weekend contact and Christmas.
They were also able to agree about their eldest daughter’s change of school. This was an issue which they feared would be particularly difficult, but having established a dialogue they found relatively easy to deal it with face to face. They even went so far as to agree the best way to introduce future boyfriends and girlfriends and both expressed surprise that they were able to achieve so much.
Both Amanda and John left the mediation much more optimistic and with the necessary documentation for their solicitors regarding their future financial and family arrangements.
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Latest blogs & news
The past year has caused each of us to reflect on what is most important in our lives. Family. Friends. Freedom. It has also made us look forward, to life post-pandemic; and this, along with the pressures of lockdown, home-schooling, and everything else 2020 had to chuck at us, has understandably resulted in lots of couples deciding to go their separate ways.
We need to move away from legal disputes for separating families to help to build better relationships and cause less harm. Society’s approach to divorce and separation has to change. A report published today by the Family Solutions Group calls for a rethink.
If your income has reduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you may not be able to pay the same amount of maintenance to your former partner. This could be short-term or you might be worried the situation could be more permanent. In this blog, we set out some key points to consider if you can no longer afford to pay the spousal maintenance you have been ordered to.
Moving abroad or returning home with children and the risks of child abduction during the coronavirus crisis
Despite the wonders of modern technology helping to keep people in touch during the coronavirus pandemic, many separated and divorced parents who live far from their children are finding life very difficult at the moment. In this blog, we look at some of these scenarios and the questions arising at this unprecedented time for separated parents who either wish to relocate or stop the other parent from relocating overseas (international relocation) or to another part of the UK (internal relocation).
The coronavirus pandemic is changing the world dramatically. It can feel as though the ground is shifting beneath your feet. If you are recently divorced, or are currently getting divorced, that feeling may be a familiar one. We can’t predict what the health implications of COVID-19 will be for us individually, or for the community we live in, but some economic effects are already being felt by many who have already either lost their jobs, been furloughed or had a reduction in income. In this rapidly evolving environment where people’s financial circumstances are changing, many are asking if their divorce settlement still applies. In this blog, which is the first in a series on the subject, we set out some preliminary guidance.
Resolving family disputes through mediation, arbitration and private FDRs during the coronavirus crisis
The coronavirus crisis has brought about some of the biggest challenges to our lives, health and freedoms that many of us will ever experience. The pressures we face are significant while we also do our best to manage the impact on our relationships, mental health and financial circumstances. It is important that we all try to communicate and do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and happy while acknowledging that the ways in which we can do this are very different to what we are used to. In this blog, we consider alternate dispute resolution methods (including online) that are available to help couples navigate a separation either with the support of a solicitor or on their own during this time.
Following the government announcing restrictions last night for staying at home and away from others, further details have been published about the “lockdown” restrictions, which confirm that “moving children under 18 between their parents’ homes” is one of the permitted reasons to leave home.
Tuesday saw the emotional final episode of series 2 of The Split which involved many of the key characters going their separate ways. In this blog, Connie Atkinson reflects on how to support children through separation together and ways of resolving practical arrangements on divorce.
This week’s episode of The Split began with high drama between Hannah and Christie following the secret that Nina let slip at the end of the last episode. The issues between Hannah’s client, Fi, and her husband, Richie, continued to develop so Hannah and Christie were forced to work together despite their personal differences. Fi and Richie couldn’t agree on the arrangements for their three children so a joint meeting was arranged with their lawyers.
Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog Connie Atkinson summarises the mediation process and, as considered in our historic blogs, examine the key benefits of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a way of resolving the practical arrangements following separation.
Paul Hollywood is a highly public judge on one of Television’s most popular shows, with over 6 million viewers watching him and his taste buds push Great British Bake Off contestants to tears, frustration and occasional joy but when it comes to his divorce, he and his wife of over 20 years have chosen for their financial arrangements to be adjudicated in private.
Parenting is hard. Working out how to parent with your partner is hard. Who does what, when and how, where the boundaries are – so many small decisions that make up a big part of your child’s life. So how do you co-parent when your partner becomes your ex?
Divorce can be a long and difficult process, not just for the parties themselves, but also for family members, mutual friends and, crucially, any children caught in the middle. While it will never be easy, approaching divorce in the right way can help to reduce conflict and streamline the process, allowing you each to move on as respectfully and efficiently as possible. In conjunction with Resolution’s campaign this week, here are our top tips for a #GoodDivorce.
Alternative Dispute Resolution for disagreements over children: if it's good enough for Brangelina...
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's very public breakup has taken a different (and even more regrettable) turn in recent months with newspapers reporting on the apparently 'vitriolic' dispute over their children. The disagreement has allegedly arisen as Jolie is due to start filming Maleficent 2 in Europe while Pitt is committed to a new role in Los Angeles, making regular time with the children a near impossibility for the 'non-resident' parent. In addition, Jolie has claimed that Pitt has failed to provide ‘meaningful’ financial support. It has been suggested that mediation, one form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), was offered as a means to keep the matter out of court.
Last night we saw the first of a six part series which focuses on the world of divorce. It is a drama; they use dramatic license to make the show interesting, appealing to the public and to fit into six parts. The show is the first of its kind in this country and it is exciting to see our profession featured in a high profile drama which will provide a platform for family law issues to be discussed. I hope The Split will also give us the opportunity to share our advice, thoughts and experiences from inside the profession.
As I read the stop press news last week about the possibility Angelina Jolie might be pressing pause on her divorce, given Brad’s reported willingness to address his drinking problem, it got me wondering about whether they were considering a Reconciliation Contract which is a popular post-nup tool in the US.
The debate surrounding our fault-based divorce system is not a new one. However, the recent case of Mr and Mrs Owens, in which Mrs Owens appealed the court’s decision to reject her divorce petition, demonstrates the need for urgent family law reform.
Currently, in order to petition for divorce one party is required to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This can be evidenced by adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or separation (of two years with the consent of both parties, or of five years without consent).
News of megastars Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s divorce has dominated newspapers and social media worldwide this week and is a timely reminder of how people in the public eye have to deal with intense media interest in the difficulties they face in their private lives.
One of the best ways to ensure that the terms of any divorce, whether high profile or not, are kept out of the press is to conduct proceedings in an entirely private forum such as mediation, using a private judge or arbitration. As practising mediators, we assist clients in resolving issues outside of court and regularly advise them about the benefits of mediation.
Alternatives to the family court process - new Family Law Children Arbitration Scheme to be launched
For many, the prospect of attending a court hearing to decide upon the future of your family or finances can be a daunting process. Courts tend to be formal, overwhelming and expensive. Thankfully, court is not the only option and alternative dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration or mediation, can often assist in achieving a more amicable, timely and economical resolution.
Children and mediation – The MoJ responds to Dispute Resolution Advisory Group’s final “Voice of The Child” report
Guest author Harry Nosworthy, Barrister at 4 Paper Buildings, looks at the MOJ's response to the Dispute Resolution Advisory Group’s final “Voice of The Child” report and evaluates the questions yet to be addressed.