Since well over 20 years ago, people have been discussing the possibility of instituting a process known as “no fault divorce.” This is due to the fact that it has long been acknowledged that the existing system, which is heavily based on the requirement to blame one party, is not suitable for its intended purpose and has resulted in unneeded conflict. As a mediator, I am increasingly finding that I need to make an apology to both parties on behalf of the family law system for the fact that we frequently need to spend time looking for a way to apportion this blame in order to permit them to move forward with the process of getting a divorce. I say this because we frequently need to spend time looking for a way to apportion this blame in order to allow them to get a divorce.
When there is an experienced mediator present to help navigate through this very delicate conversation during a joint mediation Wigan meeting, it is without a doubt that there is far less potential for it to lead to unnecessary conflict than if either of the parties tried to come up with reasons for the divorce on their own or instructed their attorneys to do this for them. Despite the fact that this conversation can be difficult enough to have during a joint mediation Wigan meeting, when there is an experienced mediator present to help navigate through this very delicate conversation, it is without a doubt that
It was thus extremely reassuring to see the Government’s answer to the consultation on the no fault divorce, which was published in April 2019 and conveniently headed “Reducing family conflict: Government response to the consultation on reform of the legal conditions for divorce.”
However, several weeks have passed, and it does not appear that things have moved to the level where a timeline for implementation has been finalised. I had been waiting to put down my opinions on this new development until after a timetable had been finalised. You might find it interesting to read the piece I wrote on the missed possibilities for employing mediation Wigan as part of the Brexit talks process in respect to this issue. One possible explanation for this is the legislative burden that would be incurred as a result of Brexit.
The benefits of using mediation Wigan in divorce cases where neither party is at fault
As a result of the lack of progress that has been made, as well as the fact that it is possible that either this government or one that follows it will not actually implement the proposals for a divorce without regard to who was at fault, I am writing this post in an effort to assist in ensuring that mediation will not lose its place once the changes have been implemented.
My first worry is to the well-known law of unintended consequences and the impact that the modifications may have on the practise of mediation Wigan. This law states that actions can have unforeseen repercussions. When taken at face value, it seems obvious that removing needless hostility and argument from the process of getting a divorce should mean that the more amicable method of reaching financial settlements and agreeing on the living arrangements for the children that mediation Wigan offers should become more widely promoted and used.
However, having witnessed comparable arguments put forward when legal aid was removed for the majority of divorcing and separating couples, with the government promising to promote the use of mediation Wigan as part of these changes, and having watched the near demise in legal aid mediation as fewer and fewer people have been referred to mediation at the same time that mediators’ legal aid pay has been slowly but surely eroded, I am more than a little wary about assuming that the “no fault divo” will be a success
Already, I have the impression that there is a significant risk that the adjustments will be utilised in a way that is counterproductive to the goal of promoting the use of mediation Wigan, which is to say that they will be used to dissuade people from using it.
As a result of the implementation of “no fault divorce,” there is a possibility that attorneys will advise their clients that they no longer require the services of a mediator because the divorce procedure itself is not contentious. Instead, clients may be encouraged to work out issues pertaining to their finances and children with the assistance of their attorneys, which could result in needless expenses and hostility.
Equally, there is a concern that the message might get out to divorcing couples that they no longer need mediation because it will be straightforward to get divorced and that there will, therefore, be little left to discuss within the mediation process. This would result in many people only realising much later that they have missed an opportunity to anticipate and deal with the numerous issues that can arise as a part of a separation.
If either of these things happens, then this will be a very unfortunate outcome as the true benefits of mediation Wigan lie in the fact that it can take almost any situation, whether it is highly contentious or very amicable, and assist the parties in reaching lasting resolutions. If either of these things happens, then this will be a very unfortunate outcome. In addition to this, there is the possibility that they will be able to strengthen their communication with one another, which is of potentially vital importance when there are children involved. If anything, the elimination of “blame” makes mediation Wigan even more beneficial because it will be easier to reach long-term agreements in light of the fact that there should be slightly less conflict to deal with than might have been the case in the past. As mediators, we need to send out the clear message that the removal of “blame” makes mediation even more beneficial because it will be easier to reach lasting agreements in light of the fact that there should be slightly less conflict to deal with than might have been the case in the past.
The point being made is that the conversations that take place during mediation pertain to other concerns, such as the money, the children, and the overall communication dynamic. The reasons for the divorce make up just a minor part of the first discussions that take place during mediation Wigan.
In light of all of this, my greatest wish is that the government will not only go ahead with its plans to introduce “no fault divorce” as soon as it is possible, but that it will also seize the opportunity to promote mediation as the first port of call for anyone who has concerns regarding their children’s well-being or their financial assets. This shift in mindset has been long overdue, and I honestly hope that in the future we won’t look back on it as just another chance we passed up that, because to the principle of the law of unintended consequences, ended up having the reverse of the intended impact.