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Family mediation: amicable communication is key

For many couples the New Year brings a resolve to make changes in their lives, and sadly, for some, this means deciding that their relationship has come to an end.

So how can couples in that position keep relations between them as amicable as possible, particularly if they have children together?

Family mediation has long been a first choice for couples seeking a constructive process to help them discuss the important questions which arise as they go their separate ways. This week is National Family Mediation Week which is designed to place the spotlight on the process and highlight the numerous benefits it can bring to separating couples. It offers a supportive and confidential (with only limited, sensible, exceptions to this) place for these discussions to take place and helps couples arrive at proposals for their financial arrangements and care of their children, which they can truly say are their own. Ownership of these important decisions is incredibly powerful and far more likely to produce an outcome which the couple can live with, than if they have to hand those decisions over to a Court to make.

As a family mediator, my role is an impartial one, so that I can help a couple discuss all of the options in a neutral and balanced way. Whilst I cannot provide legal advice, I can provide plenty of information about the law and legal processes to help the couple come up with their proposals and decide what they think is best for their family. Legal advice from the couple’s own solicitors should complement the mediation process to enable them to make informed decisions.

Family mediation is future-focussed and, whilst it is acknowledged that the past will have played a part in bringing the couple to mediation, I help the couple work towards building a sustainable future as far as is possible.

Communication is often strained when a couple separate but it is vital that this is maintained, especially if there are children to consider. I regularly work with couples to get their communication back on track and formulate a parenting plan with them to help address many of the important aspects of parenting together, whilst living separately. Whilst the couple may no longer be partners, they will continue to be parents for some time to come and an ability to work together in the best interests of their children is extremely important.

National Family Mediation Week celebrates the huge positive impact mediation can have on separating couples, during one of the most difficult times of their lives. If family mediation is of interest to you, please contact Helen Cankett on 01242 248256 or email helen.cankett@bpe.co.uk.


These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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