Julie-Ann Harris, Head of the Family Team at Frettens Solicitors in Christchurch, has successfully completed the Resolution Mediation training course and is now qualified to mediate on all issues surrounding divorce and separation, including finances and children matters.
Family mediation is a process which encourages couples to discuss and settle their issues in a safe, neutral environment assisted by a mediator, rather than having to rely on a court to decide a settlement. It is usually a less confrontational process and therefore aims to reduce the distress and length of time it can take to reach an agreeable outcome.
Julie-Ann is an established local solicitor who has specialised in family law for over 8 years and she is now one of a very small number of solicitors qualified as a mediator in Dorset. She comments “In my opinion mediation is the best way forward for most couples and in fact it is likely to become a mandatory part of the separation process in the coming years. Couples are encouraged to attend an assessment meeting with a mediator at the outset of any proceedings to assess whether mediation would be helpful for them. At this meeting they will be given information about the principles of mediation and how the process works.”
Julie-Ann goes on to highlight the advantages of using mediation “Mediation encourages discussion which can help couples to reach an amicable settlement. It is particularly constructive where couples have children and will need to remain in contact after their separation. Whilst both parties may need a solicitor to manage the legal formalities, a mediator works with both of them as a completely impartial third party. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that the couple themselves define the terms of their separation rather than accepting a court decision, which can sometimes seem unfair to one, or both, of the parties.”
Further information about mediation can be found at www.resolution.co.uk. Frettens Solicitors offer clients a free initial meeting for new clients and Julie-Ann is happy to discuss mediation and any questions you have about whether it could benefit your situation – please call 01202 499255.