For many struggling couples the festive period often causes partners to adopt a “make or break it attitude”, with thousands unsure of where to turn to for support or advice. The additional pressure placed on couples during a time meant to be enjoyed with loved ones and family has left many dealing with a Christmas that fell short of their holiday ideal.

Unfortunately, as a result January has earned the name of ‘Divorce Month’ following an annual upsurge of separations occurring in the New Year. However this increase means that charities offering free advice are placed under strain as demand far outweighs the resources available leaving many couples unsure of where to turn as calls for help are left unanswered.

At time of crisis and high emotions it is important that separating couples are aware of the options available to them, helping them to leave their spouse on amicable terms, especially where there are children involved. The first step to achieving this is to consider all the methods of dispute resolution outside of the courts.

One such option is Collaborative Law. This is a process whereby specially trained solicitors are instructed by both parties and a commitment is made from the outset by all those taking part to avoid issuing Court proceedings other than for the approval of any agreement reached. Collaborative law is especially effective where there are children and encourages both partners to consider the impact on their children of the decisions they make. Discussions take place in four way meetings with both parties and their respective lawyers with everyone helping find solutions to the issues that arise. You can find out more information about Collaborative Law here.

Another option is mediation that allows couples to identify key areas that need resolving, typically finances or children, and work towards a mutual agreement with help of an external non biased third party. Through these sessions couples are able to reach common ground in a non confrontational manner without the distress or expense of lengthy court battles. Communication between both parties is key to successful mediation. Here at Farleys we are able to refer our clients to accomplished mediators where appropriate, and for further information follow this link.

Throughout the course of any separation or divorce resorting to the court arena should be left as a last resort. The court environment can make it difficult to encourage a harmonious relationship between former partners although, sadly, it is the case that some disputes can only be resolved with the assistance of the court.

If you are going through a separation or divorce and require further advice please do not hesitate to contact Farley’s award winning Family Law team on 0845 050 1958 or alternatively you can email us.