According to lawyers, the first Monday of the New Year is said to be the most popular day of the year to file for divorce. Historically many family mediation services have also seen a sharp rise in the number of mediation referrals received following the festive period.
This trend also follows the school summer holidays. Could the reason for this be put down to the additional stress caused by having the children at home for a long period, could it be the impact of already heavily squeezed family finances being hit by the additional expense of Christmas, or is it just because parents are forced to spend more time with each other during this time which then exaggerates any personal or financial problems that they might have and causes them to bicker more?
Debbie Hillman spokesperson for Kent Family Mediation advises anyone who is considering splitting up from their husband, wife or partner.
“If talking things through with a Relate family marriage guidance counsellor does not help and the relationship is beyond repair, then family mediation should be considered before anything else. Mediation is cheaper, quicker and far less bitter than going to Court; agreements can be made after looking at all of the options for resolving the argument. More importantly, agreements will be made in the interest of any children. Contrary to popular belief mediation agreements can be made legally binding and legal aid is still available for anyone who is assessed as being eligible to claim for it."
"So for example a person who has a gross income of less than £2,657 per month, a disposable monthly income of less than £733 per month, or assets that are not in dispute which are less than £8,000, they may be eligible for legal aid and receive free mediation and free time with one of the few solicitors that still hold a legal aid contract."
"Currently any person that makes an application to go to Court must first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) and provide the Court with proof that they have done so."
"Last year Kent Family Mediation helped over 2,000 couples, 80% of which reached an agreement. This year’s changes to the Family Court system will make mediation compulsory for any cases involving children and this figure is then expected to double.”
Further information about mediation and Kent Family Mediation Services 13 mediation centres can be obtained by calling 01795 410457 or visiting www.kentfms.co.uk