Family dispute resolution week November 24-28

This awareness-raising week aims to highlight the alternatives to court for separating couples and their families.

The organiser is Resolution - an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales. They wish to educate couples on how to journey through separation, in a less painful way, outside of the courtroom. The means to achieve this is through the use of mediation, collaborative practice and arbitration, together with solicitor negotiation. These can help to resolve differences over sticky issues such as finances or children.

One local provider of Family Mediation is the charity, West Sussex Mediation Service. They aim to provide quality mediation at a reasonable cost, using experience family mediators. The income from this work is used to continue their free mediation in the community. They are receiving more and more calls on the subject as Courts now require that the mediation option be explored before any proceedings in Family Court.

Nick Handley, the charity Co-ordinator said: “Mediation is easier and less stressful than going to court – and it works. If children are involved, it’s easier for them if their parents co-operate and can help maintain important family relationships. It is also cost effective.”

A recent survey by Aviva has revealed the true cost of divorce. This has reached an average of £21,979 person. Figures reveal that the cost of divorce has risen by 57% since 2006. The rise in costs relates to moving house and increased child maintenance payments. Legal fees for divorce have actually dropped over that period. Legal Aid is generally no longer available for divorce but is available for Mediation.

Contributed by West Sussex Mediation Service