Judge orders couple to settle 10 year custody battle over a cup of tea

20 February 2014

Earlier this week, a high court judge recently brought a decade of conflict to an end for one divorced couple by ordering them to sort our their differences over a cup of tea.

The couple, who had been fighting for custody of their twin boys, had appeared in court 24 times in an effort to agree on custody arrangements. However, Lincolnshire based solicitors. Wilkin Chapman LLP, say that a lengthy court battle could have been avoided if the couple had used mediation to negotiate custody rights.

Lisa Boileau, partner and mediator at Wilkin Chapman LLP, said: “If national newspaper reports are to be believed, it was only when the judge ordered the couple to sort out their differences over a ‘nice cup of tea’ that real progress was made. Sorting out custody rights following a divorce can be an emotionally charged time and court appearances can be both stressful and expensive. However, mediation can help many couples avoid this emotional and financial expense.”

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution which provides an alternative to the traditional court process. It is particularly useful for couples who are looking to resolve issues such as those relating to children, property and/or finances. The key to mediation’s success is that all meetings are conducted by a third party mediator and both parties are present. The mediator is able to offer assistance and help reduce conflict through an impartial and confidential service.

Lisa adds: “Also, what not everyone realises is that legal aid is still available for mediation – for those that are eligible and who meet legal aid criteria. For those who may not be eligible, mediation is still a cost effective process, particularly when compared to protracted and lengthy court room appearances.”

Mediation can make a real difference to separating couples. The fact that both parties are actively involved in making important decisions, whether financial, about property or about children, can help smooth the process of divorce or separation and lessen the emotional burden.

Lisa says: “Lots of cases can be sorted out through mediation. Children’s childhoods can be blighted by court appearances and warring parents. Mediation can help couples negotiate and concentrate on important issues, during what is a difficult time. It can really help couples to communicate and look at ways of working together in a cost-effective manner to unlock and resolve their issues.”

Wilkin Chapman LLP offers a bespoke mediation service at both its Grimsby and Lincoln offices, with partner and mediator, Andrew Wareing, at the Grimsby office and Lisa Boileau, partner and mediator, at the Lincoln office. One of the benefits of using Wilkin Chapman is that their mediators are also qualified solicitors. The assistance they offer is impartial and, although they cannot give legal advice, their legal experience and knowledge undoubtedly assists mediating parties.

For further details on how mediation could work for you and for a handy factsheet, visit: www.wilkinchapman.co.uk/site/m...


For further information, please contact: Susan McKeon at Wilkin Chapman LLP on 01472 262626 or email smckeon@wilkinchapman.co.uk

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