In divorce and separation cases, it has been a well established principle of the British legal system that children come first. In divorce cases where the Court is being asked to consider dividing assets, the first consideration is the needs of any children that are under 18. The welfare of the children is the Court’s most important consideration in cases about arranging care for the children, with the wishes and feelings of the child taken into account, in light of their age and understanding.
Cases are supposed to be dealt with quickly, as a delay in deciding the outcome can be harmful to the child. So why is that children continue to be affected and impacted by separation and divorce? Why is there an increase in children needing counselling and access to mental health services?
Unfortunately, our Court system is overburdened with disputes over children, and with legal aid largely withdrawn from the majority of people (except for those cases involving domestic violence), there are more parents resorting to representing themselves. They attempt to find their own way through the law.
So, what is the answer?
The use of mediation services is on the rise as more parents are seeing the benefit of making their own decisions. The process of mediation is where parents can make their own informed decisions. A resolution-trained mediator will not only be able to act as an independent and impartial mediator/facilitator. They help the parties to make their own decisions but they also have full knowledge of the law and procedures governing children disputes. Research shows that if parents can make their own informed decisions jointly, then this helps long term co-parenting – which will benefit the child.