As Big Ben chimed in the New Year, many people will have made promises to themselves or to their nearest and dearest about making changes that will improve, or enrich their lives. Perhaps promising themselves a healthier lifestyle, a better job, spending more time with their children, or by just taking more time for themselves. Making even small changes like this can have a big and positive impact on a person’s quality of life and indeed many of these changes can be made easily and without any significant or major upheaval. Making minor changes to one’s life are one thing, however, what if these changes involve splitting up with someone you live with, or are in a relationship with, or getting a divorce from someone that you are married to.
A divorce is one of the most stressful events that can happen in a person’s life. Moving house is also high up on the ‘Most Stressful List’, but what if splitting up with someone also involves moving out of the family home? This would count as a ‘double whammy’ on the stress factor list!
“Should I stay, or should I go?”
When faced with this huge, life changing decision, some people might decide it is safer and more sensible to stay put and to make promises to themselves, or their partners to try to make the relationship work, perhaps by going to marriage guidance, or relationship therapy together. Whilst other people may be of the belief that their relationship cannot be saved, and have therefore made the decision that, there is no future for them with their partner.
Making the break can be extremely difficult, especially if one person is not happy with the decision, is wondering which one of them, (or whether both of them) will have to leave the family home, has nowhere to turn to for help, and does not know what their options are.
Family mediation can be extremely helpful for anyone in this situation. Family mediation is far cheaper than going through lawyers and family mediation is quicker than going down the legal route. Family mediation is more amicable and far less stressful than sorting matters out acrimoniously in court. Affordable family mediation fees can be paid for privately, or they can be free if someone is assessed as being eligible to claim Legal Aid. A MIAM (mediation information & assessment meeting) has for some time now been compulsory in most instances before an application to start Court proceedings can be made, and very often Court Judges will make an order in Court for opposing sides to attend family mediation with a view to them sort out matters between themselves outside of the Court process.
Family mediation meetings will take place between a qualified, experienced family mediator and both people who want to end their relationship and these will take place away from the family home, in a neutral, safe, and supportive environment. It is a mediator’s job to be impartial, realistic, and knowledgeable in their approach to gathering both people’s wishes and goals in respect of the arrangements for any children of the relationship, what happens to the family home and how any debts, savings, pensions, or other assets will be divided up. The family mediator will act as a guide and facilitator to the discussions and negotiations that will take place and the family mediator will help both people to weigh up all the options before reaching an agreement that both people will find acceptable. The mediation agreement will also take into account any needs, or wishes of any children of the family and discussions can include making plans about the best way to go about telling the children about the separation. Agreements reached during family mediation can be made legally binding without the need to have to go to court.
There are a number of Family Mediation Centres in Kent. To arrange an appointment for Mediation, you will first need to make a referral.