While the long school summer holiday signals a lull for many Kent businesses, the opposite is true for a charity based in Kent, which says demand for its family mediation services from divorcing and separating couples are again seeing an upturn.
Debbie Hillman of Kent Family Mediation Service says, “Six weeks of summer holiday is the final straw for many strained relationships. It’s a breaking point for many couples who then need to start making arrangements for their separation.”
She identifies three factors that shift many of them from an uneasy relationship to an unworkable one during the summer:
- More family time together in close proximity
- Changes in established daily routines, and
- The expense of going away, and keeping family members entertained
“It’s not just the week away somewhere warm, but the time at home when stressed-out families are spending more time together that proves the relationship is untenable,” Debbie says.
Kent Family Mediation Service is a member of the National Family Mediation network, which featured in the recent BBC Two TV series ‘Mr v Mrs: Call The Mediator’ that raised the profile of family mediation as an alternative means of resolving family disputes.
“More and more people now understand that when a relationship breaks down and property, finance and parenting arrangements need to be sorted, you don’t have to head off to a solicitor and a court room battle,” adds Debbie “There are alternative ways to make settlements, which is where Kent Family Mediation Service comes in.
“Family mediation is four times quicker and more cost effective than going to court to settle a divorce. Professional mediators understand the families affected by separation are best placed to explore and agree the key details of their separation, rather than handing these judgements to a family court.”
Debbie added that as the summer holiday goes on, Kent Family Mediation Service sees more and more couples who have already separated or divorced seeking to change the arrangements imposed on them by a family court.
“Separated families often find the summer holiday is when they discover agreements that were imposed on them by courts are simply not workable. Arrangements for picking up and dropping off the children that might work in term-time prove to be impractical by changes in established routines. Resentments resurface, hostilities accelerate, and the child can be caught helplessly in the middle,” Debbie says.
Legal Aid is still available for family mediation clients. Those that are assessed as being eligible will be entitled to free family mediation with no payback.
Make a referral to attend family mediation in Kent