At Kingsley David, we have a specialist department dedicated to mediation. Mediation is not new but it is still not the first choice for couples who are divorcing or separating. Mediators are trained to help resolve disputes over all issues faced by divorcing or separating couples, or specific issues such as arrangements for any children.
When you are going through a separation or divorce, you experience a number of different emotions ranging from anger, relief, upset, depression and guilt. Often couples and clients say that they feel out of control in a process that is so important for them. Having a lawyer mediator means that all options can be explored and explained in a safe, informal but managed process. Lawyer mediators have knowledge of the law but are also trained in the emotions experienced and how to deal with these. Children can also take part in the mediation process with an independent mediator trained to consult directly with children and this can be helpful where there is a dispute as to where or with whom your children should live with. Although difficult, most couples recognise the benefit of being in control of the outcome for their family and mediation allows this to be possible through a series of meetings rather than leaving such an important decision in the hands of a Judge who inevitably will know very little about you, your parenting or your children.
The mediation process involves a number of meetings of between one to two hour sessions and a structured process whereby you and your partner will identify issues you cannot agree on and help you to try and reach agreement. Mediators are neutral and do not take sides. A mediator will give impartial guidance to help you understand what matters to you, and to make your own choices about the best way forward.
Our mediator Clare Kitteridge, is accredited by the Law Society and Resolution as an expert in mediation. Clare trained as a mediator many years ago, having seen the damage of the court process and its effect upon clients and children. The Law Society and Resolution’s specialist accreditation scheme awards a quality mark to practices and individual mediators who meet the highest standards of expertise and service. Clare is an accredited specialist in family mediation and family law which means that her skills, knowledge and practice have been rigorously and independently tested.
Clare has assisted many couples in the mediation process successfully resolve their disputes and move forward. As a Resolution trained mediator, Clare is able to provide general legal information to both of you within the mediation if this is appropriate. Clare is a skilled mediator who helps couples maintain their focus, particularly where there are financial and children matters to be considered.
Clare is also a fully trained child consultant. Child consultation provides a safe and confidential space for a child to be individually seen. Clare will meet with a child, or children, only with the express consent of both parents to allow the child an opportunity to speak about their hopes, concerns, wishes, feelings and views and to understand their experience of their family situation in confidence. This allows the opportunity for the child, or children, to speak freely to Clare who will only pass on to the parents specifically what the child feels they are comfortable with. Clare can offer child consultation within her own mediation and can also act as an external consultant for those couples undertaking mediation with another family mediator.
FAMILY MEDIATION INFORMATION SHEET
Mediation is a process where both parties attempt to resolve issues with the assistance of a professional mediator. The work in mediation is done face to face. The mediator will sit with you both, assisting you to identify the issues and options to resolve those issues, whilst helping you to consider how each of your options would work in practice. Once you have proposals you both find acceptable, the mediator will prepare a summary of them together with a summary of financial information which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your solicitor. After you have both received legal advice and, if you are both still happy with those proposals, your solicitors will convert the summary into a legally binding document.
Since April 2014 there has been a requirement (with some exceptions) that anybody wanting to go to Court should attend a meeting with an appropriately qualified mediator to find out about mediation and other non-Court options. That meeting is known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.
Your Mediator – Clare Kitteridge (nee Cain)
Clare is a family lawyer with over 17 years’ experience, a trained collaborative lawyer and an all issues family mediator accredited by the Law Society and Resolution. Clare is also a fully trained child consultant who can meet with children and provide them with a safe and confidential space to meet with Clare to express their views, feelings, hopes and concerns about their family situation. Clare is passionate about family law as an area that can have an everlasting impact on a family. Clare believes that no two families or clients are the same and is committed to finding the best possible solution for every client to resolve their separation, divorce or matters relating to their children.
“‘When you are dealing with the breakdown of your marriage or relationship, you often feel out of control and unable to cope. I understand the complex emotions that arise during separation, having undergone separate training in emotional intelligence and the importance of protecting children during this time. With appropriate guidance I want clients to feel empowered to make reflective decisions enabling the family to move forward and to be able to communicate with each other despite differences long after the legal process has concluded.”
Clare trained as a mediator many years ago and since her training has successfully mediated for many couple in all areas of family law, including children, cohabitation disputes and financial matters. Clare is recognised by the Law Society and Resolution as an accredited specialist in mediation based on my practical experience and having met the requirements as an accredited specialist. Clients describe Clare as ‘bringing a natural warmth to the process whilst being skilful and robust and having a professional and empathetic approach which helps makes the emotional process as pain free as possible.’
If you wish to find out more about the process of mediation you can contact us on 01908 325555. There is a fixed fee for the mediation information and assessment meeting at £150 plus VAT if you attend together and £100 plus VAT if you attend separately. If you would like to find out more about how Clare may be able to help as a child consultant, please do not hesitate to contact Clare direct.