Use of Mediation Marlow in "no fault divorce"

May 17, 2022

"No fault divorce" has been a topic of discussion for more than a quarter of a century now. Since the current system relies primarily on placing blame on one party, it has long been recognised as being unsuitable for its original function and causing unnecessary conflict. Increasingly, in my role as a family law mediator, I find myself apologising to both parties on behalf of the system for the time we have to spend trying to find a method to allocate responsibility before they can go on with the divorce process. My point is that in order to allow them to divorce, we frequently have to spend time figuring out who is to blame.

Having an expert mediator present at a joint Mediation Marlow meeting ensures that this delicate dialogue will not lead to unneeded tension, unlike if either of the parties attempted to come up with reasons for divorce on their own or asked their attorneys to do this for them. As tough as this talk might be to have in a joint Mediation Marlow meeting, it is unquestionably easier when an experienced mediator is there to guide you through this extremely sensitive discussion.

The Government response to the consultation on no-fault divorce, issued in April 2019 and neatly titled "Reducing family conflict: Government response to the consultation on change of the legal circumstances for divorce," was particularly comforting in this context.

Although it has been a few weeks after the announcement, it does not appear that the implementation schedule has been finalised. After the timeline for this new development was finalised, I decided to voice my thoughts on it. Regarding this subject, you might be interested in what I wrote about the missing opportunities for using Mediation Marlow as part of the Brexit talks process. As a possible reason for this, Brexit's legislative burden could be to blame.

Benefits of mediation for divorce situations if neither party is at fault

To ensure that Mediation Marlow does not lose its place after these changes are implemented, I am writing this post because of the lack of progress and because it is possible that either this government or one that follows it will not implement the proposals for a divorce without regard to who was at fault.

My first concern is the well-known law of unintended consequences and the potential impact that the changes may have on the practise of Mediation Marlow. Unexpected consequences are a part of this law. Even when taken at face value, it seems evident that the more friendly approach of achieving financial settlements and agreeing on living arrangements for children that mediation provides should become more extensively advocated and adopted.

Even though the government promised to promote Mediation Marlow as part of these changes, I am more than a little concerned after witnessing similar arguments put forth when legal aid was removed for the majority of divorcing and separating couples, and after watching the near-demise of legal aid mediation as fewer and fewer people were referred to mediation while mediators' legal aid pay was slowly but surely eroded,

A major danger exists of the modifications being misused in a counterproductive manner, which is to say that they will be utilised to deter individuals from utilising Mediation Marlow.

Attorneys may tell their clients that they don't need a mediator after the introduction of "no fault divorce," because the divorce process itself isn't acrimonious. It's possible that instead than relying on the support of their attorneys, clients may be urged to resolve issues relating to their money and children on their own.

In the same way, there is fear that couples separating could get the message that Mediation Marlow is no longer necessary because getting divorced is simple, and that there is little left to talk in the mediation process. As a result, many people will only discover the full extent of the problems that might occur during a divorce much later in the process.

Both of these outcomes would be regrettable, as the genuine value of mediation lies in its ability to help parties establish long-term agreements, regardless of how acrimonious or amicable their disputes may be. It would be a terrible conclusion if one of these things occurred. Even more importantly, it is possible to enhance the relationship between them, which is critical when children are involved. Instead of making Mediation Marlow less effective, the absence of "blame" makes it even more advantageous since long-term agreements will be simpler to obtain as a result of their being less disagreement than previously. Even if "blame" has been removed from mediation, we need to make it clear that removing "blame" makes mediation even more helpful since there will be less conflict to deal with, which will make it simpler to create durable agreements.

What's being emphasised here is the need of discussing issues other than money and children throughout the Mediation Marlow process. During the initial conversations in mediation, the grounds for the divorce are only briefly broached.

The government should not only implement "no fault divorce" as quickly as possible, but should also take advantage of the chance to push Mediation Marlow as the first option for everyone concerned about their children's well-being or their financial holdings. This is my biggest hope. "I honestly hope we won't look back on this shift in mentality as simply another opportunity we missed that, due to the concept of law of unintended consequences, ended up having a different impact than we had hoped for," says a professor.

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