New business launched to help separating and divorcing couples save money and stay out of court
Divorce rates are increasing and relationship experts warn the pandemic-induced break-up curve may not have peaked yet. Some law firms are seeing over a 100% increase in enquiries based on the same period last year and courts are struggling to keep up with the new demand.
Claire Colbert and Rachael Oakes have set up their own business called “Mediation and More” because they want to work with individuals and couples in a way that law firms cannot.
Most people know someone, a friend or family member, who talks about the nightmare of their divorce, the conflict, stress and what seemed like never ending legal fees. Well, separation and divorce no longer need to be like this anymore.
At Mediation & More the focus is to keep people out of court, save them money and facilitate the resolution of any issue involving family breakdown, separation, divorce and its financial consequences, arrangements for children and any other kind of family dispute.
We will be supporting couples to achieve an amicable divorce using the skills we have as accredited mediators and drawing on all the knowledge and experience we have each built up working as specialist family lawyers for more than 20 years. We are leaving the world of litigation behind to focus on supporting individuals and couples in a way which will reduce acrimony, legal fees and stress.
Our aim is to become the go-to business for people who find themselves considering separation and divorce and want to know what all their options are and gather as much information as possible about the process before going to lawyers. If the couple wish, we can then mediate to discuss and sort out all the issues that need to be resolved, meaning that they may only need a lawyer at the very end of the process to receive legal advice and draw up a legally binding agreement.
Lawyers cannot meet with a couple together. They are prevented from doing so because it is regarded as a conflict of interest by the rules that govern how lawyers’ practice.
One of the unique services Mediation and More will be providing is a fixed price Family Law Information Meeting.
Whilst working as family lawyers we were conscious that many couples wanted to meet with us together to obtain an understanding of the steps and options involved in divorce situations. Law firms cannot offer this service, they are unable to meet with couples together, but we can.
This is a great first step for any individual or couple wanting to receive as much information as possible about how the divorce process works and enables couples to make joint decisions about next steps. This service can reduce the risk of conflict, help keep legal costs down and assist people who are already representing yourself in the family court.
We can use these meetings to answer all the questions people have that they often think they must go to lawyers to get the answers to. In our experience, once lawyers are involved, many cases are then on the litigation pathway and options to consider and resolve issues amicably have been lost.
In speaking with us people may decide that Mediation is the process that they want to use to reach an amicable agreement about their family dispute. If they do, then we will then provide that extra support and put in place the necessary meetings to take things forward. If mediation isn’t right for any reason, then we can provide recommendations about other professionals who can help.
We are the only local business who are able to provide all of the following services to help and support people resolve their family dispute;
• Traditional Family Mediation where a couple meet with a mediator to facilitate resolution of the practical and financial consequences of separation and divorce.
• The new Hybrid Mediation model where both lawyers representing the couple are involved in meetings so that they became part of finding the solution and stop litigating. Having the lawyers at meetings means that they can provide legal advice to their client as and when it is needed, when discussing proposals for reaching an agreement, and then a binding legal agreement can be drawn up on the day. This significantly reduces the time it can take to reach an agreement with lawyers involved, hand in hand with the costs.
• Meeting with children to ascertain their views about future arrangements so that they have a voice in the process and so they feel they have been consulted about important decisions that are going to impact on their future.
• Mediating for couples to facilitate what might be included in a pre-marital agreement, post marital agreement or cohabitation agreement.
• Coaching people who are having to prepare for or go through the court process. This is a very stressful process and one we know inside out. We can offer real and practical tips that people can use to help them cope.
• Resolving other types of family disputes by mediation.
• Mentoring lawyers who work in the field of family law. This service is led by Rachael who also sits as a Deputy District Judge.
Our business came about after much reflection about the way we wanted to work moving forward and wanting to help couples find a better way to separate and divorce. As Alice Walker said – “Look closely at the future you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming”. We have dreamt the dream, now we are creating our future and a better future for those we will work with.
Our website contains lots of information about all the services we provide and explains all the above options in more detail so please do have a look – www.mediationandmore.uk
Here is a video we have put together to explain a little more about our new business. We very much hope that we can help people and their friends and family find a better way to separate and divorce.