For many families the summer holidays are the best time of year. This is especially so for children, when they can enjoy six weeks without having to go to school and having no homework. It’s also a time when they can spend some quality time with their parents.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case as for many people the summer break can reveal cracks in a relationship that were previously papered over. Indeed, spending a great deal of time together when a marriage is already on rocky ground can often be the final straw as has been proved to be the case by many in the pandemic.
As with home schooling and working from home, a holiday together can put these cracks into sharp focus and of course juggling work and childcare over the course of the school summer holidays, brings the added financial pressures of sourcing childcare or holiday clubs.
Divorce may already be on the cards, but we often find that parents are unwilling to start proceedings until the children are back at school, when couples can take stock as to whether the marriage is worth preserving.
Sheila Parkes, who heads Haymarket Family Mediation, which is part of Phillips Solicitors, tends to see an increase in mediation enquires following the end of the summer months, in much the same way as there is an increase after the Christmas and Easter holidays.
“If you feel that you want to separate, then my advice is to use a qualified family mediator, such as myself, to help you resolves issues around children and finances on or in the lead up to a separation,” said Sheila, who has been a qualified family mediator for more than 25 years, and a family solicitor for even longer.
“When people discover that family mediation is less expensive than being represented in court proceedings in a divorce case, as well as being less stressful and quicker than the court process, most realise it is a process worth considering.”
“Over the years I have helped hundreds of parents work together to develop realistic and effective parenting plans and fair financial outcomes, always with the aim of putting the best interests of their children first. After all, parents are the best people to make the decisions that will affect their future and that of their children, rather than a judge imposing a decision.”
Sheila and her team at Haymarket Family Mediation, can provide online mediation via Zoom or Teams while social distancing precautions are in place, or by arrangement in person at our offices at Town Gate, 38 London Street, Basingstoke. If appropriate, this can be done by a process called shuttle, where each client is in a different room. Sheila is also qualified to see children as part of the mediation process in appropriate cases
Haymarket Family Mediation is approved by the Legal Aid Agency to offer Legal Aid for mediation for those who qualify financially. This is a welcome benefit to clients who may otherwise have nowhere else to turn to for help. We also subscribe to the Family Mediation Council Voucher Scheme which can help reduce the cost of child related mediations for clients.
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This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.