Options for reducing conflict when separating

Separation and divorce are never easy.    A recent survey from Resolution, revealed that in the South-East:

• Four out of five people say children should come first in divorce, but that they are the main casualties

• Two thirds of people in the region have a divorced family member

• 43% assume divorce can never be without conflict

• 51% would prioritise making the divorce as conflict free as possible

The findings of the survey highlight how couples have good intentions to prioritise the well-being of children and to avoid conflict during separation, but this can often be derailed by a lack of knowledge of the non-court based options available and an exposure to the adversarial nature of courts. Often the result is emotionally and financially drained parents, and deeply distressed children – Alternatives to court such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration can help prevent unnecessary conflict for couples going through separation and divorce.

To help promote awareness of the various alternatives to court such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration, Resolution has launched an advice guide “Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce”, designed to help separating couples understand non-court based methods of resolving the issues arising for them.    This new guide is available on-line at  http://www.resolution.org.uk/separatingtogether/   The guide also includes contact details for other organisations which can provide useful information around separation and divorce. These include: Citizens Advice Bureaux; Family Lives; Fatherhood Institute; Gingerbread; Money Advice Service; One Plus One; Only Dads; Only Mums; and Relate.

By being aware of the alternatives to court couples can minimise the negative impact on themselves and most importantly if they are parents, minimise the impact on their children.   By encouraging separating parents to consider alternatives to court, to take some of the conflict out of the process, and to put the needs of their children first, parents help to ensure they’re able to maintain a relationship with their children, regardless of the state of the parents’ relationship with each other.  In addition, financial arrangements reached by agreement are more likely to be effective, to be tailor-made to recognise what is important to the couple and to be adhered to by them.

Resolution is a national association of 6,500 family lawyers and professionals committed to taking conflict out of family disputes. Resolution members abide by a code of practice which encourages solutions based on the needs of the whole family, and particularly the best interests of children. Resolution members work with their clients to find an option that works best for them.The Resolution survey referred to in this article was undertaken by ComRes, a member of the British Polling Council.

Kim Finnis is a Resolution accredited family law specialist and mediator and also a trained collaborative lawyer.  To discuss the options when you separate/divorce contact Kim on 01483 539100.