Sadly it’s not only the public but also practitioners who are starting to ask this question. Increased court fees, a lack of legal aid for most private family law cases, underfunding and lack of clarity from the Legal Aid Authority in family mediation and County Courts closing all over the UK.
But “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well that’s the adage.
Justice, killing, stronger?
As you read this you might be going through the trauma of divorce yourself and these words have a particular resonance for you. You may be feeling bombarded and overwhelmed by endless e-mails, unpleasant texts from your ex and what seem like ceaseless and very expensive letters from solicitors picking over the minute details of what used to be the day to day running of your family life.
You may be feeling sidelined as your ex and their new partner take your children away on a luxury holiday or just for the weekend and it may feel unbearable for you to have to hear your children thrilled with the “brilliant time” they’ve had, regaling you with tales of your ex and worse, their new partner. Meanwhile holidays are a distant memory for you. Your new and constant companion is the calculator kept close at hand at all times helping you stretch the monthly budget to accommodate the additional expenses of two separate households - the prospect of moving from the family home an ever increasing reality.
It just isn’t fair!
Sadly there will be no volte-face by Mr Gove in his governance of the legal system, but it doesn’t mean you and your ex have to go to war. This doesn’t have to be about strength and survival, winners and losers - it can be about compromise and collaboration.
Mediation is not easy, it is emotionally charged and you both have to take responsibility for the work done in the sessions, but if you are both willing to commit to the process and to compromise, it will offer you an opportunity to talk through the issues that are important to you both in a productive and collaborative way so that what seems like a fight to the death becomes an opportunity to talk, to listen and importantly for you both to be heard.
We want you to be able to start to work together to make decisions for you and your family in an informed and safe environment.
Who knows you might even be able to afford a well-earned holiday at the end of it all.
What’s certain is it won’t be your Solicitor’s holiday you’ll have paid for!