In April, a number of key changes came into effect for family law cases and private children’s issues. The Government has acknowledged that the sometimes adversarial environment of court may not always provide a positive arena for separating parents, and Sir James Munby, President of the High Court Family Division, is actively encouraging couples to seek help from mediator-solicitors for family-based alternatives to divorce.
Following the changes in the Children and Families Act 2014, anyone applying to court to arrange financial provision and care arrangements for children must attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Appointment (MIAMS) before court proceedings can go ahead. These issues include where children will live following a separation, how often they will see each parent or guardian, and how financial provisions are arranged for children and the separating parties.
During the mediation appointment, a specially trained family mediator will work with both parties to determine the best outcome for the family as a whole, and ensure that the needs of the couple’s child/ren are met. Mediation offers a far less antagonistic and informal alternative to court, and allows parents to talk over the practical aspects of their separation and how it will affect their children.
One of the main benefits of family mediation is that both parties have control over the key decisions relating to their separation and their children, rather than having the court make decisions for them. Where children are concerned, a court divorce may further divide parents, taking an oppositional stance instead of a collaborative one. In our experience as family lawyers, co-operative separation methods produce far more positive and long-lasting results for parents and children, while mediation offers a faster (and often cheaper) alternative to the court process.family law solicitor Beaconsfield, family law solicitor Berkshire, family law solicitor Buckinghamshire, family law solicitor Maidenhead, family law solicitor Thames Valley, family law solicitor Windsor