Every January family solicitors see a sharp rise in the number of people applying for divorce and the month is generally associated with gloom and doom. But a Wrexham law firm has reported a light is shining through the gloom this year, due to the introduction of Family Mediation which has significantly reduced the pain of separation for many couples.
Nathan Wright, a Partner with leading North Wales and Shropshire law firm, GHP Legal, said Mediation has not only helped to make separation more amicable but it has also saved money for parting couples, as only one Solicitor is required for the major part of the process in successful cases.
"Since April 1st 2013 public funding for divorce, separation, children and financial matters has only been available to victims of physical or psychological abuse or threats," explains Mr Wright. "This changed the whole divorce process, making it more difficult and expensive for a lot of couples to end an unhappy relationship. This was also when Mediation really came to the fore.
"Mediation is a voluntary process that aims to help couples to reach their own agreements without the intervention of a court. It covers issues such as making arrangements for children, disentangling finances, dealing with the family home, pensions and other assets and maintenance and Inheritance Act claims for dependants.
"During the Mediation process an unbiased, specially trained family Solicitor/Mediator provides the separating couple with neutral generic advice in relation to family law that will assist them to reach agreements that are right for themselves and their families, in a non-confrontational supportive environment. This gives the couple greater control in the decision-making process and avoids Judge made Orders that neither party may like.
"We know that Mediation is not right for everyone, but for many couples it has saved money and paved the way for a more amicable future apart."