FM Family Law launches voucher scheme for Family Mediation Week 2024

FM Family Law launches voucher scheme for Family Mediation Week 2024

FM Family Law is proud to be supporting Family Mediation Week this year which runs from 22 January to 26 January 2024. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of family mediation and the many benefits it can bring families experiencing separation.

Mediation is a way for you to discuss and resolve issues away from lawyers and away from court. The role of the mediator is to remain neutral, facilitate and support discussions, as well as to help explore various options. Where appropriate, family mediation can be a great option for you to take control, make decisions together and build a positive future for themselves and their family, particularly if there are children involved.

In support of Family Mediation Week, FM Family Law is pleased to announce that we will be offering a voucher scheme. The voucher will provide a contribution of £500 (£250 each) towards the cost of the first two joint mediation meetings. The voucher will be available on request and is subject to availability. Full details and terms below.

We have three experienced Resolution Family Mediators at FM Family Law: Sue Bailey, Christina Hale and Emma Wager.

If you would like to enquire about booking your mediation meeting with one of our mediators please contact us:

Contact us on 01223 826000 (Cambridge) or 01603 343660 (Norwich) to enquire.

You can also read more about our family mediation service here.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Each joint mediation meeting is charged at £500 inc vat (£250 inc vat per participant) for 90 minutes at the standard rate, thus the total cost for two joint mediation meetings at the standard rate would be £1,000 inc vat (£500 inc vat per participant).
  2. The voucher offers a total discount of £500 inc vat (£250 inc vat per participant) exclusively against the cost of the first two joint mediation meetings with FM Family Law, therefore the voucher will reduce the cost of each joint mediation meeting to £250 inc vat (£125 inc vat per participant).
  3. To qualify for the voucher:
    – The voucher scheme must be specifically requested at the time of booking;

    – each participant must have completed their initial intake meeting with their mediator;
    – should both participants agree to mediate after their respective first individual meetings, and the mediator considers the matter appropriate for mediation, then the first two joint mediation meetings will be arranged, invoiced and paid in advance.
  4. The voucher applies providing there are two joint mediation meetings or more. If in fact only one joint mediation meeting takes place, no refund is offered to participants as the £250 inc vat cost after applying the voucher is to cover the cost of the first two joint mediation meetings.
  5. The voucher does not apply to other work related to mediation or to further mediation sessions, the costs of which can be provided on request.
  6. If the first two joint mediation meetings over run the allotted 90 minutes (each) then the extra time will be invoiced after the meeting.
  7. The voucher has no cash value and cannot be transferred, or exchanged for alternative services.
  8. This offer is limited and subject to availability, and FM Family Law reserves the right to modify or withdraw the scheme at any time.
  9. Meetings will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.
  10. FM Family Law reserves the right to refuse or terminate mediation services if any participant breaches the terms and conditions outlined herein.

By participating in this voucher scheme, participants agree to abide by these terms and conditions.

Co-nesting following relationship breakdown

Co-nesting following relationship breakdown

WHAT IS CO-NESTING?

A living arrangement, colloquially referred to as ‘nesting’ or ‘bird-nesting’, and which we at FM Family Law consider is best described as ‘co-nesting’, involves continued co-parenting within the same ‘nest’.

Co-nesting is when the family home is kept as a home for the children, and separating parents take it in turns to live in the former family home and at alternative accommodation. This enables separating parents to continue to care for their children. It’s an arrangement  that we are seeing become increasingly popular. It can be used in the early stages of separation, also enabling parents to take their time to work out their longer term living and shared parenting arrangements.

 

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT?

Co-nesting can have many advantages, especially for children.  It allows children to maintain a sense of stability and continuity, making it less difficult for them to cope with their parents’ separation. They get to stay in their own rooms, go to the same schools, and have their own routines.  In that sense, it allows arguably a more child-centred approach to separation as a lot of the burden of adjusting and moving falls to parents and not their children.

When not at home, parents may choose to stay with friends or family, in a hotel, house-sit, rent a room in a shared house, or split the cost of a small apartment or house big enough for one person at a time. There may be financial advantages in the short term, as the family is not having to fund the cost of two households large enough for the children to stay in which is particularly prudent in the current cost of living crisis.

 

IS IT SUITABLE?

Co-nesting typically requires a high level of cooperation and communication. It  can be emotionally and financially challenging.  There needs to be some level of respect and trust between parents as they are co-existing in the same space, albeit at different times.  But for some separated parties, it can be a valuable child focused way to co-parent their children and maintain a sense of stability for their family.

Generally, co-nesting is more suitable where the separation is amicable and there is a good level of healthy communication between parents. It is unlikely to be appropriate in cases where there are allegations of domestic abuse or child abuse or if there are safeguarding concerns.

 

TOP TIPS

There are a number of ways parents can set themselves up for co-nesting success.

 

1. AGREE GROUND RULES

Before the new living arrangement begins, parents should sit down and agree the ‘rules of engagement’, to include communicating their expectations, anticipated timeframe, preferences and boundaries (which may include agreeing that new partners may not attend the home).

Parties may decide to continue to have dinner together once a week in the family home, or simply agree that a civil and brief handover in the hallway when the other party returns home is all that’s needed.

 

2. CREATE A SCHEDULE

This could include a clear schedule for each parent’s time in the house and a schedule for activities and chores.  It is vital that both parents have a clear agreement about where each of them will be and when for the arrangement to succeed. The use of a parenting communication app, such as Our Family Wizard may assist with maintaining a healthy dialogue of communication.

 

3. INVOLVE THE CHILDREN

If the children are of an appropriate age, parents could involve them in the decision-making process and consider their needs and preferences. This would be usual for children of around 10 years of age and upwards.

 

4. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

Parents should always have a backup plan in the event something unexpected arises. This can include in instances of sickness or issues with travel.

 

CAN CO-NESTING WORK LONG-TERM?

While it may sound like a positive outcome for co-parenting in the short to mid term, and at critical stages in a child’s life, it is unlikely that co-nesting will work effectively as a long-term solution.

It is inevitable that co-nesting maintains a level of connection between the adults, which of course may bring difficulty at a time when people may need to feel a sense of closure moving on or starting afresh. This may be exacerbated further when one party commences a new relationship, if not handled sensitively.

Co-nesting also fails to achieve financial separation between parties, which may leave parties feeling vulnerable and unable to achieve independence.

In the shorter term however parents who are able to agree a co-nesting plan for their children might be more successful in being able to navigate and agree some of the more challenging longer term aspects of their separation. Arguably, the value of a co-nesting plan provides an excellent foundation for separating parents to later embark on the next stage of their own lives after divorce or separation.

If you wish to discuss your co-nesting options, or the fallout of your separation in greater detail, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and I shall be pleased to advise further on whether this will work for you and your family.

Kerry Read

Kerry Read

Solicitor

01603 343669

Not to be reproduced without permission.

Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.

A key message from FM Family Law on so-called Divorce Day 2024

A key message from FM Family Law on so-called Divorce Day 2024

“Divorce Day” is generally considered by the media to occur on the first working Monday of the new year. Allegedly it is the day on which there is a rush to engage a lawyer or to apply to the family courts to start the divorce process. This alleged peak in enquiries about separation/divorce is thought to arise at the end of the festive holiday season and or the start of a new year. Certainly it can be a particularly sensitive and intense time for some families. The alleged rush may also be caused as a result of some couples wishing to avoid upsetting family dynamics over the holidays and instead deferring to take action about their relationship until the new year.

In what has developed into our annual “Divorce Day” message, FM Family Law does not support any media hype that encourages hasty decisions about a family breakdown or which has a risk of glamorising what can be a painful break up.  We do not encourage our clients to make rash and hasty life-changing decisions. We are mindful that the holiday season can be a stressful time, and that the new year can also bring a renewed sense of hope and a desire for change. However, divorce or separation is a major life event that can have significant financial, emotional, and practical consequences and is not something that should be considered lightly.

If you are experiencing relationship issues, before making any major decisions, we encourage you to take time to reflect and ensure you get all the support you need to be in the best headspace for making life changing decisions. Here are some things you can do to help:

1. Talk to someone: It can be helpful to talk to someone about your feelings and concerns if you feel unable to speak to your partner. You may want to consider speaking with a professional therapist or counsellor, or confide in a trusted friend or family member.

2. Reflect: It can be helpful to take a break from the situation and give yourself some time and space to think independently. This might involve taking a short day trip, going for a walk, or engaging in a hobby that you enjoy.

3. Practice self-care: Make sure to prioritise your physical and emotional well-being. This may involve exercising, hydrating, reducing alcohol consumption, eating well, getting enough sleep, and finding ways to relax and de-stress.

4. Professional guidance: There are many resources available to help you navigate the challenges of a relationship breakdown. You may want to consider joining an online or face to face support group or seeking guidance from a trusted professional, such as a counsellor, divorce coach, family lawyer or family mediator.

5. Initial no obligation legal advice: FM Family Law have 10 specialist family lawyers, 3 of which are also trained mediators, who can offer tailored advice and support to help you work out the right way forward for you.

The initial impulses of the new year may pass, but the impact of a decision to separate or divorce will be long-lasting. So on “Divorce Day”,  FM Family Law encourages you to take a moment to reflect, prioritise your mental wellbeing, and seek support before making any major decisions for your future.  Once you have done that, and if you still wish to move forward with a separation or divorce, then we would be happy to support you – please do not hesitate to contact us here.