25 November, 2014
This week, Resolution have launched an awareness campaign for those separating or contemplating separating. They call it Family Dispute Resolution Week.
Resolution (previously known as the "Solicitors Family Law Association") is an organisation of Family Lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales who believe in a non-confrontational approach to family breakdown.
As a direct result of belief that problems and issues arising from separation or divorce are far best approached without recourse to the Court, wherever possible, Dawn Baker trained as a Collaborative Lawyer with Resolution.
There is a code of practice to which Resolution members adhere, this code requires Lawyers to deal with each other in a civilized way and to encourage their clients to put their differences aside and reach a fair agreement.
As part of making people aware of the benefits of using mediation, collaboration or arbitration as an alternative to the Court process, Resolution give examples of how damaging an acrimonious divorce or separation can be on children, on the adults themselves, and on almost every aspect of their daily lives.
Apparently, a survey showed that 19% of teenage children said that during the course of their parents' separation, they did not get the exam results they were hoping for, and 65% said that their GCSE exam results were affected; 15% of the children surveyed said they had moved schools, 32% said that parents tried turning them against one another and 14% had sadly turned to alcohol. The impact on the children cannot be ignored.
There are a number of processes which exist to support couples to work together to decide how to deal with the family on separation, how children should be approached, and how money and assets should be divided.
Mediation - This helps couples work things out together, its aim is not to get the parties back together as a couple, but to try and get couples to work together to resolve their differences. Helped by a trained mediator, the parties are encouraged to talk through their issues.
Collaboration - With the collaborative process each partner would have a specially trained Lawyer with them at each meeting.. Meetings are arranged over a number of weeks, preparation for the meetings is key to the process working, and both parties agree to keep the matter away from the Court. Amazingly, it usually takes very few meetings to sort all matters out.
Arbitration - Instead of going to Court, the parties agree to the appointment of a family arbitrator to rule on areas of dispute.
Negotiation - If the parties can not agree to try mediation, arbitration or collaboration, the parties Solicitors can negotiate an agreement without the need for a lengthy Court process. Again however this will largely depend on both parties being fully open and honest about providing each other with information, and cooperating in the process as a whole
The court process can be very slow, it can be costly and if agreement can not be reached before the final hearing taking place, the Judge may well impose an Order on the parties which neither of them are entirely happy with. The control is taken away from the parties. There may be no alternative to going through the Court, for example if one of the parties refuses to cooperate or be honest about their position.
In short, Resolution fully supports non confrontational approaches to resolving problems following family break down Dawn is very proud to be able to endorse that approach, and offer it to her clients as a vey civilized and sensitive way of coping with one of life's most traumatic events.
For Family Dispute Resolution week the below video is aimed at members of the public who are going through a separation or know someone else who is, the video sends a strong message about the range of people that separation can affect - particularly children, in keeping with Resolution's Code of Practice. It encourages people to contact, or to recommend contact, with a Resolution member in order to deal with their separation or divorce in 'a better way'.