Are Mediation or Collaboration possible when you’re going through a divorce?Joanna Craig
If people are separating or divorcing after many years together, particularly when there are children involved, then obviously there are emotions that may inhibit a calm and rational approach. But surely it is better to try, rather than straight away decide to use the court which is an adversarial approach that merely polarizes the parties, is extremely stressful and costs an awful lot of money. These must be reasons to look at collaboration more seriously.
So how does collaboration differ from mediation?
Mediation involves the two parties going to a professional mediator who doesn’t necessarily need to be legally qualified. The idea is that they explore ways of reaching a settlement through that one mediator. The parties have to go back to their lawyers to convert the results of mediation into a settlement within the legal parameters of the divorce proceedings.
With the collaborative process there are two lawyers, both working towards achieving a satisfactory settlement, albeit one that is necessarily based on compromise. It is often said that the best solution is one that neither party is terribly happy with, but is prepared to accept. Generally speaking there are no winners in a divorce – what should be happening is every effort is made to limit the damage. That is not only financial damage, but emotional damage to the parties and above all the children.
Obviously one of the main reasons for doing things collaboratively is to preserve a relationship between the parties for the sake of the children and to enable the parties to focus on the needs and interests of the children as well as their own emotional and financial needs.
Within the collaborative and mediation process both parents acknowledge their role in caring for the children and that this role will continue despite their separation, so every effort needs to be made by both parents to ensure that the children maintain a good relationship with both parents.
Surely everyone wants both parents, separated or not, to attend the family occasions – christenings, graduations, weddings e.t.c. without any lingering animosity as a result of separation or divorce. At Cotswold Family Law we offer a variety of ways of resolving difficulties without necessarily going to court. It may be that we bring the parties’ company accountant or an independent financial advisor or a family therapist into the meetings to help the parties deal with all aspects of their separation, whether it be the impact on their business or the effect of the separation on the children and how best to deal with this. Every effort is made to ensure that the parties separate on the best possible basis.
Collaboration or mediation makes sense – emotionally, financially and practically.
For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.