The Family Mediators’ Association (FMA) organise an annual ‘Family Mediation Week’ in which all Mediators are invited to raise awareness of the valuable work that they do. Mediators believe that they are not an alternative dispute resolution, but that they are the leading professionals of dispute resolution. Our charity offers reasonably priced Family Mediation to divorcing/separating couples and have some very experienced mediators. This income stream is ploughed back into the charity coffers to support our free work in the community.
Despite the Government encouraging the public to access Mediation by making it obligatory to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) before going to the family court, tens of thousands of families are still using the battleground of the court-room to play out their divorce and separation drama – at a high cost to their own and their children’s mental health.
Recent research (CAFCAS) showed that 30% of the 40,599 private law applications, involving Cafcass in 2016-17, had been to court before. The majority returned within two years, and almost a third had been to court at least twice before. The causes for returning included, high conflict between adult’s, changes in life circumstances and the child’s wishes and feelings.
Talking these situations through with an experienced Family Mediator could have altered the outcomes
and potentially avoided the need for court at all. The current court-based route through divorce appears not to be working.
Mediation should be the first step to a sane way to separate – not an alternative. Conflict, no matter how hidden can harm children, parents, workplace and society – it is a significant trigger to mental illness. What is not often realised is how the mental health of both adults and children is adversely affected by the trauma of a nasty divorce.
Court-based divorces can go on for years, cost thousands and be physically and emotionally traumatic.
The long-term effects of a nasty divorce can lead to mental health issues in any children caught up in the tangled web, right through to adulthood.
West Sussex Mediation Service is happy to offer free advice/guidance and reduction in fees, during Family Mediation Week. We can be contacted on 0300 200 0025 or via firstname.lastname@example.org