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Family Mediation Week kicks off in Leeds with separating parents urged to avoid courtroom conflict

Parents living in Yorkshire who have decided to divorce or separate in 2023 are being encouraged to find out how they can avoid court proceedings to agree parenting arrangements and money, with the launch of Family Mediation Week, 16 – 20 January.

The various pressures that go hand-in-hand with the Christmas period can act as a final straw for relationships that may already be in difficulties, meaning January can see a rise in the number of parents deciding to live apart.

Sarah Manning, mediator and family solicitor at Clarion based in Leeds says Family Mediation Week is designed to raise awareness of the benefits of family mediation, a process that can help separating couples agree what works for them, which has the benefit of avoiding the court process which can create stress, delay and significant costs..

Sarah says: “Many parents emerge from the festive period feeling defeated by the pressures on relationships and finances that have been highlighted during the holiday period.

“In my mediation practice, I often speak to separating couples in this position and they simply don’t know which way to turn. Their life-changing decision to separate brings with it so many tough questions, such as who lives where; where will the children live; how will they make sure they each spend time with them; how will they sort money; what about debts and pensions; and even what happens to the family dog?

“Family Mediation Week shines a helpful spotlight on these tricky issues, offering separating couples information about their options as they look to make arrangements for parenting, property and finance.

“Family mediation is a process where an independent, professionally-trained mediator helps you work these things out, enabling you to avoid court proceedings. Professional mediators can help empower you to create long-term solutions for your specific circumstances, rather than leaving it to a court to make decisions for your family.”

We are pleased to inform you that Clarion is also taking part in the Ministry of Justice’s Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, which meets up to £500 of mediation costs for families if they need to discuss arrangements for children.

Legal Aid remains available for family mediation.

Clarion will be hosting a programme of events designed for both those going through the divorce process and professional advisers to raise awareness of the benefits of family mediation for separating families and couples. These include:

Monday 16 January 2023 – 1pm to 2pm (for individuals – webinar style format on Zoom)

Claire Macklin (formerly Black), divorce coach; Siobhan Jeffels, solicitor; Sarah Manning, solicitor and mediator; and Lottie Kent, financial adviser, will be discussing ‘Having a divorce team – is it only for the wealthy?’ and how this could potentially save you thousands. There will also be a Q&A.

Tuesday 17 January 2023 – 11.30am to 12.30pm (for lawyers and mediators– webinar style format on Zoom)

Claire Macklin (formerly Black), divorce coach; and Sarah Manning, solicitor and mediator, will be discussing how Claire, as a divorce coach, can feed into the process of mediation to make your life easier. There will also be a Q&A.

Thursday 19 January 2023 – 4pm to 5pm (for lawyers and mediators– webinar style format on Zoom)

Chartered financial planner and Resolution accredited divorce specialist Tamsin Caine, assisted by Sarah Manning, solicitor and mediator and Stephanie Douthwaite, Solicitor, will discuss Pensions on Divorce Experts (PODEs). Following the Pensions Advisory Group report published in 2019, the importance of pensions in divorce was put under the spotlight and the new term, ‘PODE’, came into our vocabulary. However, there are still misunderstandings about the role of PODE and we will seek to address some of these for family mediators.

There will also be a Q&A.

Anyone wanting to know more about the benefits of family mediation can visit www.clarionsolicitors.com or call 0113 246 0622.

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