Life’s journey can be difficult together we can make it easier
When you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, communication has irretrievably broken down and it’s time to go your separate ways, what can you do to mitigate the trauma for everyone involved, including the children?
The latest official statistics indicate that 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales will end in divorce. But the divorce petition is just the beginning of what can be a fraught process. Solicitors Kate Westmacott and Vikki Martin are part of Wolferstans experienced team using expertise, knowledge and support to guide separating couples through the delicate process of disentangling from each other. Kate has been a solicitor for 21 years and a trained mediator for five; she understands that there can be heartache in breakups. “With the work we do, there are no winners – it’s not a great situation to be in. “We’re committed to providing a fair, friendly and highly specialised service to every client.” Vikki Martin agrees: “It is always going to be a tough meeting, people find their first meeting with a solicitor emotional, but that’s the nature of it. The work we do is about empowering people with advice, reassuring them that the law is there to support them, being constructive not destructive and taking that pressure off them.”
Kate has personal experience of the mediation process and sees the real benefit of using their service to solve thorny issues before the courts become involved. “Our aim is to make it as smooth as possible – the smoother it is for the adults, the better it is going to be for the children.”
Couples who need to talk about how to split the finances and make sense of contact with children have to see a mediator to find out about mediation and decide if it is the best route for them. Kate says: “You’ve got the divorce which is a separate issue to that of the finances and children.” “Since October 2014, the ‘Presumption of Parental Involvement’ has come into effect. The court now considers that it is right for every child to have contact with each parent where that is possible.” That means couples have a duty to attempt to resolve disagreements in the first instance with a recognised mediator like Kate.
Kate says: “For the people who want to go down this route, it really works. Mediation is usually a quicker, cheaper and easier way to resolve financial and children issues but if matters cannot be agreed that way the Family Court is there to help.” Vikki and Kate understand more than most people that sometimes relationships don’t make it. Being realistic means knowing that the process is not going to be pain free. No one marries expecting it to fail but the reality is that even amicably divorcing couples need help. It’s emotionally challenging work supporting people through some of their darkest days but the professional team at Wolferstans find it very rewarding.
Kate agrees: “It sounds really clichéd but this is a really difficult time in anyone’s life. We try for an outcome that is ok for them. It’s never going to be an easy time, but we can reach an outcome that people can at least accept.” Vikki agrees: “It’s almost like a grief cycle that the client goes through so you have to adapt your approach with the client according to how they are coping with the process emotionally – there are often feelings of anger and upset and clients need supporting through that.”
For more information please call Jennifer Toop on 01752 292318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.