Some people think that Financial Mediators helping divorcing couples are hoping to get the couple back together again. A more accurate way to understand how these skilled professionals work is that they advise on your exit strategy from a relationship fraught with financial complications. Sadly, we know that around 40% of marriages end in divorce, and the Government has been aware of the expense and misery that beset many divorcing couples for some time, and the Family Law Act 1996 was introduced to steer more people into mediation to resolve the problems of divorce and separation. In 1999, Lord Woolf produced his report called "Access to Justice". It set out a number of shortcomings he found in the current legal system.
Amongst other things, he found it to be:- · Too expensive · Too complicated · Too adversarial · Too slow Lord Woolf suggested mediation in appropriate cases as a way to overcome these shortcomings. So what do Financial Mediators actually do? How do they make a difference? - the reduction of animosity and fighting therefore much easier on the children who really hate to see Mum and Dad at loggerheads - they allow clients to go at a pace that is comfortable to them. Having made the decision to split it still takes a while to accept and adapt to the inevitable changes and cope with the official paperwork - some people find this quite scary. It's a big big step and mediators like Val and Don are sensitive to this - although they focus on the financial and children issues there is invariably psychological turmoil, and whilst mediators may not be counsellors, they are ready to empathise and give what emotional support they can - they have seen clients rekindle a workable friendship at the end of the process - really satisfying! - high profile cases like Paul and Linda M are so unusual. Often they have cases where funds are really really tight and it just doesn't make any sense at all to pay competing solicitors unnecessarily. Val is adamant: "we do not in any way try to mend broken relationships.
We make sure before we start that there is absolutely no chance of restoration and then work to make the inevitable split as painless as possible." Rather like marriage fairs which help you plan your wedding, there is a divorce fair in Holland which aims to give all you need to plan the perfect split. The very first ever divorce or `break up' fair was held in Austria last year. The fair gave advice on how to organise a post-married life, and to help couples to untie the knot as painlessly as possible.
The two-day fair was held under the motto "New beginning". The event allowed would-be divorcees to consult lawyers about their rights and seek advice. With 66% of marriages in Vienna ending in divorce, the divorce rate in Austria hit an all time high of 50% in 2006. The Saturday was reserved for men, and Sunday for women, so couples could avoid awkward encounters and retain a degree of anonymity.
There was also a series of lectures on subjects like how divorce affects children and coping as a single parent. This move towards accepting that the break up of marriages, and also civil partnerships, provoke complex emotional dilemmas and a great deal of fear, shows how the role of financial divorce mediators will become increasingly a necessary part of a healthy break up.
Suzy Miller's online directory, CertainShops, an interactive online directory of vetted professional service providers, has experts who can advise with a free consultation to help divorcing couples or civil partnership break-ups. Suzy Miller currently owns her own company CertainShops - professionals online, an interactive online directory of vetted professional service providers recently voted by the Independent newspaper as one of the "101 most useful websites that will change your life". Suzy has also created a blog to help the technically nervous join in with social networking online at www.Blogging For Blondes.com.