Press Release

Choosing Court Over Mediation! Are You Insane?

Despite the Government encouraging the public to access Mediation by making it obligatory to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) before going to court, tens of thousands of families are still using the battleground of the court-room to play out their divorce and separation drama – at a high cost to their own and their children’s mental health.

30% of 40,599 returning to court 

Cafcass revealed this November 2017 research showing that 30% of the 40,599 private law applications involving Cafcass in 2016-17 had been to court before. The majority returned within two years, and almost a third had been to court at least twice before.

After exploring a percentage of these cases, the causes for returning included: high conflict between adult’s, changes in life circumstances and the child’s wishes and feelings.

Talking these situations through in a far more time given sensitive environment could have altered the outcomes; they could have all be addressed and explored in family mediation, potentially avoiding the need for court at all.  Clearly, the current court-based route through divorce is not working if people have to keep returning.

Not an alternative – Mediation should be the first step to a sane way to separate

Amongst the mediation groups who offer mediation UK-wide, the Family Mediators’ Association (FMA) organise an annual ‘Family Mediation Week’ (22nd-26th January 2018) in which all Mediators are invited to raise awareness of the valuable work that they do.

Mediators believe that they are not an alternative dispute resolution, but that they are the leading professionals of dispute resolution.

Conflict, no matter how hidden can harm children, parents, workplace and society – it is a significant trigger to mental illness

What is not often realised is how the mental health of both adults and children is adversely affected by the trauma of a nasty divorce.

Court-based divorces can go on for years, cost thousands and be physically and emotionally traumatic.  

Robert Higgs had to represent himself in court against his partner who was trying to stop him from seeing his son.  Robert remained calm and kept trying to encourage mediation, the stress of this situation led to severe health problems involving his sight, which also caused him to become unable to work for some time.

His partner suffered depression, and her daughter began self-harming as the consequence of the parental conflict. Finally both parents attended a mediation session, which resulted in a positive agreement regarding access to their son.

The long-term effects of a nasty divorce can lead to mental health issues in the children right through to adulthood;

Tammy Clark experienced her parent’s unguided, and therefore angry divorce as a child. She believes that the trauma of this complicated her mental health issues that appeared later in life when returning to work after having her second son. Due to unresolved childhood traumas combined with a missed diagnosis of postnatal depression and a stressful workload she suffered a complete mental breakdown, which ultimately led to the loss of her job. She has now been able to restart her life but wishes that mediation would have been better available/ advertised for her parents when they separated.

Long term solutions – because families don’t stop after divorce
Click on www.familymediationweek.org for more information.
This campaign is taking place during 22nd-26th January 2018

 

 

Main Contact:

Ashley Palmer  FMA FMCA MBACP

Child Inclusive Family Mediator, Psychotherapist

www.apalmerandassociates.co.uk

07795 950009 / 01264 735699

Case Studies

Robert Higgs – physical illness caused by a nasty court-based separation

Trainee Mediator

rjhiggs58@gmail.com

07973141583

Robert Higgs had to represent himself in court against his partner who was trying to stop him from seeing his son.  Robert remained calm and kept trying to encourage mediation, the stress of this situation led to severe health problems involving his sight, which also caused him to become unable to work for some time.

His partner suffered depression, and her daughter began self-harming as the consequence of the parental conflict. Finally, both parents attended a mediation session, which resulted in a positive agreement regarding access to their son.

Tammy Clark – Mental illness complicated by parents unguided divorce

Director/ Author/ Illustrator

UR Fantastic Ltd

www.urfantastic.co.uk

07554 424 115

Tammy Clark experienced her parent’s unguided, and therefore angry divorce as a child. She believes that the trauma of this complicated her mental health issues that appeared later in life when returning to work after having her second son. Due to unresolved childhood traumas combined with a missed diagnosis of postnatal depression and a stressful workload she suffered a complete mental breakdown, which ultimately led to the loss of her job. She has now been able to restart her life but wishes that mediation would have been better available/ advertised for her parents when they separated.

Expert commentary:

Ashley Palmer  FMA FMCA MBACP

Child Inclusive Family MediatorPsychotherapist

www.apalmerandassociates.co.uk

07795 950009 / 01264 735699

Child-inclusive accredited Family Mediator, Psychotherapist and Family Consultant who is spearheading the Family Mediation Week campaign to educate and inspire UK separating couples and parents to access mediation and avoid the trauma of using the court system.

High resolution photos available on request.

References:

30% of 40,599 returning to court . Nov 2017

https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/news/2017/november/cafcass-publishes-new-research-on-private-law-cases-that-return-to-court.aspx