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How can Mediation help separating couples settle their differences?

Divorce and separation can be expensive and time consuming. Many people are turning to Mediation to help settle their differences and it is free of charge for many. Based on the latest statistics (published December 2012) it is estimated that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce (Office of National Statistics).

Separating from a partner can be a difficult time for many people, and can be tough for children and wider family.   The government has made drastic cuts to Legal Aid, it is now much harder to get Legal Aid to resolve finances and matters to do with children in court.   When this change in legislation happened, many people thought that Legal Aid had been cut completely, but in fact, it is still very much available for Mediation, and all separating couples will soon be legally required to consider ways to settle their disputes away from the courtroom.   

A mediator's job is help you and your ex talk to each other calmly around a table and try to help you to come to some sensible, practical agreements.  The average course of mediation is about three meetings, spread over a few weeks and the sessions are focused on looking at the different options that you have. For example, if you are separated with children, and own mortgaged property together, the mediator would help you to figure out what could happen to that property and mortgage, who might live there, and check whether the plans that you are making are affordable and would suit the children.

If for example, you work part time and receive child benefit and some tax credits, you may well be eligible for Legal Aid, which means that Mediation would be free of charge.  Or if you work are self-employed, are studying or are on benefits, then you may be entitled. The majority of the people who start mediation are able to reach agreements.

Teresea McAllister, who has been managing the service for 4 years knows how effective Mediation can be. "Sometimes when couples separate, it can be really hard to make plans for children or finances in the middle of a conflict. Our impartial mediators encourage people to communicate with each other and help ex couples to talk to each other about their finances, their property and arrangements for their children after separation, and although it can be an emotional process to go through, the mediators are trained to keep the sessions focused and to help people to make their own sensible, affordable decisions for their respective futures".

Whether divorcing, separating or dissolving a civil partnership, mediation is suitable for all types of people.  As one client said after she had successfully finished the process "mediation was great, I got all I needed from the meetings. It sorted our issues out and now me, my ex and our son are much happier."

Click here to find out more about the North East London Family Mediation or call 020 8514 7800.

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