In family cases involving children, the law is clear-the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.
However, the adversarial UK court system that people so often use is such that even in the best run of cases, this all-important principle can be overlooked.
All too often separating couples and other relatives confuse what is in the child’s best interest with what they want and not uncommonly their lawyers end up writing tit-for-tat letters to one another which invariably include inflammatory and very hurtful contentions.
In all of this, the children can be forgotten. Their day-to-day lives suffer, their schoolwork suffers and the disruption in their routines can literally turn their lives upside down.
In some instances their long-term development can suffer. Non resident parents and their children can be separated for months!
Mediating child related disputes means that whilst bitterness and recrimination cannot be completely ignored, they are put in perspective.
Family mediators ensure that the disputing parties focus on what is important and help them to find common ground and forge a new found relationship that will help them work together in the future.
Going to mediation means that it is much more likely that a non resident parent will see his/her children more quickly and more often. For the children’s sake mediate!
Paul Sandford (www.albertsquaremediation.co.uk ) is an accredited civil mediator and Tribunal Judge. He is also an associate of a Birmingham-based firm of solicitors, My Business Counsel.
He mediates for a leading UK charity and has the benefit of having worked as a solicitor for around 25 years. He has also worked as a trainer and university lecturer and has considerable experience of working with people who are disabled or who do not have English as a first language.
As well as being Regents University accredited, Paul recently completed ADRg civil/commercial and family training .
He has particular knowledge and experience of housing, property/commercial, medical and public law issues and employment, workplace, family and educational disputes. He is a member of two mediation panels: Clerksroom, which has excellent conference call facilities, and the Business Mediation Group. In his spare time Paul enjoys cooking, football, test cricket and listening to the blues, and fundraises for his school.