Good Divorce Week …. Is it Possible?

Reflections of a Divorce Lawyer and Family Mediator.

In amongst all the excitement of the introduction of “Buster the Boxer” and the bombardment of Christmas adverts, it may be easy to overlook “Good Divorce Week ”, between 28th November & 2nd December 2016. Many will wonder, is there really such a thing?

As the world recently came to terms with the news that Brangelina are no more, the media spotlight returned on all issues arising surrounding separation. As I listened to the media outpourings of some truly dreadful experiences people have been through, it reminded me why I’m glad to also practice as a Collaborative Family Lawyer and Accredited Family Mediator, able to undertake Direct Child Consultation where appropriate. By doing so I am able to promote and encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family and in particular the best interests of children.

Everyone knows a friend or family member who has been “scarred” by a painful family breakdown, the subsequent damage, both emotional, financial and at times physical, which can unfold in the midst of heightened emotions. But the good news is , it really doesn’t have to be like that.

“Good Divorce Week” aims to raise the profile where circumstances fit to use alternative methods to court.

So Why Keep it Out of Court?

It may be entirely appropriate for a case to be taken through the courts to ensure a child’s welfare is safeguarded or to prevent financial assets being disposed of, but all too often the Courts are seen as the first place to turn , rather than exploring alternative options first. With the court system under unprecedented pressure due to the wide scale removal of legal aid and impact of austerity, court proceedings can be very lengthy, expensive and leave both participants feeling disillusioned and upset. That’s before counting the emotional impact upon people who often need to be able to continue to co-parent their children for years to come. Of course it is a way of bringing closure and imposing outcomes where no agreement can be reached , but surely there must be a better way?

Over the years family law has evolved significantly, with a sea change of the attitudes of the majority of specialist family lawyers and professionals practising in this area. On the whole, family lawyers now focus on supporting and helping people and their families find family focussed solution to their problems. Collaborative Law enables families to come around the table to explore all issues with the support of their specially trained Collaborative Lawyers and such other professionals as may be appropriate to work for the whole family. An end to difficult lawyers letters being sent and no delays. Instead face to face communication. It may not be cheaper but can be much quicker and emotionally help people to reopen communication channels.

Alternatively, people may prefer working together with the benefit of a trained Mediator to work through solutions that work for their family. Mediation gives people a constructive opportunity to communicate to explore all options available. Where appropriate, Mediation can prove significantly cheaper and significantly can ensure the voice of a child is heard when important decisions are being taken effecting their future.

So, if you, any family members or friends are considering separation or indeed have already separated, remember there is such a thing as a “good divorce”

Karen Beevers is a Partner at Evans Derry Solicitors having practised in family law for over 18 years. She is a Collaborative Family Solicitor and Accredited Mediator qualified to undertake Direct Child Consultation.

If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch on 01675 464 400, or