Local family mediator receives ‘Double Recognition’

Mediation is an alternative to court proceedings and is seen as a more constructive and less emotionally damaging process. 

The quality of the family mediation services offered by partner Karen Beevers at Evans Derry Mediation has now been recognised by the Law Society with the award of the prestigious Family Mediation Accreditation.

Karen comments:-

The accreditation is the successful outcome of a mediation journey that has taken several years and secures the future of the mediation services and MIAMS assessments in the North Warwickshire and Solihull. I am delighted that the quality of work has been recognised. It is rewarding to me personally to be able to work with families, to help them reach their own solutions and thus secure a brighter future. 

By way of separate recognition,  Karen has successfully qualified to offer direct consultation with children and young people in mediation.  When parents are separating, children want to have a say in what happens to them. There is a growing understanding of the importance of listening to the children, whether or not court proceedings are ongoing. Experience has shown that in almost all cases where the children have met with the mediator the children felt that they had benefited. Such benefits can include feeling less anxious about being caught between parents, having better communication and understanding of the situation.

The opportunity to work with children in the mediation process is an exciting development at Evans Derry Mediation and compliments well the comprehensive mediation services offered.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Karen Beevers on 01675 464 400 or karenbeevers@evansderry.com

Your Will – are you sure it will help those intended?

You need a will, but must make sure it helps those intended!

When was the last time you reviewed your will or have you even made one?

The Court of Appeal has just awarded a six figure pay-out to a daughter, from whom the deceased had been estranged for 26 years – despite the entire estate being left in the will to three animal charities.

During a lengthy court battle, Heather Ilott had fought for financial provision to be made for her maintenance, following her mother’s death in 2004. When this first went to court in 2007, the decision was that the daughter had been unreasonably excluded and awarded an inheritance of £50,000. This ruling was later reversed, when Ms Ilott had applied for a larger share of the estate than initially awarded. Then, in 2011, the matter went to the Court of Appeal which upheld the initial award of £50,000. The court action went on – still dissatisfied, Mrs Ilott applied for a larger share of the estate, but again in 2014 lost her battle. Further legal action and after 8 years, Mrs Ilott has successfully challenged the estate and finally been awarded £148,000 by the Court of Appeal. The Judge commented during the trial that the deceased had, in not leaving her daughter any inheritance, been “unreasonable, capricious and harsh”.

Until now, proving adult dependency has been complex and problematic and this has often discouraged adult dependants from pursuing claims against an estate to which they have been excluded. The Courts have always had the discretion to depart from wills under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. However, this new ruling has widened the scope for them to do so, making it easier for adult dependant children to bring claims, where they have been excluded from their parent’s will.

Adult dependants who consider they have been unreasonably excluded will hopefully now be given confidence to pursue a claim, where they are rightful entitled to do so.

A will is a necessity: otherwise, on your death, your assets will be distributed not necessarily as you might have wished, but according to the strict rules of intestacy. The list of who may benefit is restricted : for example, not included are unmarried partners not in a civil partnership, carers, relations by marriage. Also, if there are children and the estate exceeds £250,000, a spouse will not inherit the whole of the estate outright, but will be sharing with the children.

However, now extra care and thought must be given to the drafting of your Will and getting the right advice, to ensure it does not fall foul of the ever changing law and be left wide open for a successful challenge and the significant costs involved.

If you would like to know more, then please get in touch with Charlotte Fox or Faye Scotter on 01675 464400 or email FayeScotter@evansderry.com or CharlotteFox@evansderry.com

Mediation… The Celebrity seal of approval?

Sadly, there is nothing new or perhaps surprising to hear of the demise of another celebrity marriage. Yet there was a subtle difference to the sad news last week that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were to divorce after 10 years of marriage.

Rather than rushing off to high profile divorce lawyers, to leave the other “quaking in their boots”, as many had done before, it is reported that the couple will work through their separation with a mediator.

“We go forward with a commitment to co-parenting our children, whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time”

What a refreshing change from the infamous water throwing incident between Ms. Mills and Paul McCartney’s lawyer, during the course of what were evidently very acrimonious court proceedings. Instead this couple have chosen to work through and reach solutions for their family, with the assistance of a trained mediator.

So what is mediation and how is it different?

These are questions frequently asked by those coming to see me, who wish to explore all options available to them. Many are under the false impression that it is a form of counselling aimed at saving the relationship. Mediation works on the basis that a couple having already decided to take that difficult decision to separate; mediation offers people the opportunity to work through all the issues raised by this decision – whether it is how to tell the children; what future arrangements will be in place for them; how to resolve financial matters.

Mediation is entirely voluntary. Save for some limited exceptions, it is confidential. Where mediation is successful, it can be significantly cheaper and quicker than court proceedings. Perhaps more importantly, it can greatly improve communication, empowering people to have control of the future arrangements they wish to achieve, particularly where children are involved.
Separation is one of the most difficult and stressful events that people will endure. In years to come, the decisions taken then and their potential impact on life will be seen as the most important they will have ever taken.

This was the reason I decided to train as a mediator. I have practised as a family lawyer now for over 15 years and as an accredited mediator am qualified to undertake direct consultation with children. Mediation is just one of the valuable tools available to help people deal with separation and a successful outcome will be rewarding for all involved.

Personally, I wish Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner all the best in working through the issues they face and for demonstrating that there are better options than the bitterness of court proceedings.

Karen is an accredited mediator and collaborative family solicitor.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch on 01675 464 400 or karenbeevers@evansderry.com