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3 May 2013
With the withdrawal of legal aid many separating and divorcing couples on lower incomes now have to face managing their emotions and financial affairs without the support of a solicitor - their emotional prop, their listening ear, their legal advisor. Only where domestic violence is a factor will legal aid continue to be available for family law matters.
When disputes over property, pensions, finances and children increase the reality is that communication between separating couples decrease. The threat of "see you in court" seeks only to cause further irritation to both – the expense, the delay, the unknown.
Legal aid remains for family mediation (subject to financial assessment), but notwithstanding this there is great benefit in embracing mediation. It is not the panacea for all disputes but aims to resolve disputes in a constructive and conciliatory manner.
The mediator plays an impartial role, takes no sides and attempts to take the sting out of an emotional and difficult situation.
The mediator needs two willing participants, sessions can be used to discuss arrangements for the division of time that a child spends with each parent and /or how finances and property are to be divided.
The aim is to achieve solutions that work and that each person can be content with. Distinct from the court process the separating couple are in control – certainly not the mediator and certainly not the Judge!
Wendy Campbell is the Head of the Mediation Department and is a trained Resolution Mediator dealing with all aspects of mediation including divorce, financial matters and children.
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