You may feel that quite enough has been said about the current travails of the Royal family.  None of us are ever likely to know the real truth behind the recent developments but we can all feel sympathy for the position the Queen is facing. When any family relationship breaks down, the ripples are likely to be felt by the extended family. Their Royal status cannot protect them from the hurt and fallout of this situation. This may not be a divorce in the conventional sense but clearly Harry and Meghan are looking for at least a separation if not a divorce from “the Firm” as it is often called. Let’s not forget Archie. Having a loving extended family is important for all children – however blue-blooded. One would hope that there will be some cool heads at any meeting. An experienced mediator would be the ideal person to help to limit the conflict.

For those of us not living in the public eye, relationship breakdown is no less distressing and disruptive for the whole family. How a family disentangles their lives will have a lasting impact on whether the happy memories can be treasured or whether they are left wanting to tear up all those family photos. It does not have to be war.  Often, the best route will be mediation. Solicitor mediators offer a unique service – an environment where families are helped to resolve their differences amicably. 

The mediator does not tell parties what to do, but acts as a neutral third party. The Mediator’s role is to help the parties to reach their own agreements, whilst trying to improve communication between them. Mediation can cover all the issues arising from marriage or relationship breakdown, or can be limited to particular limited issues.

Apportioning blame for the breakdown in the relationship is unlikely to be a productive route. It is all too easy to lose sight of the important objectives. A mediator will help to bring those involved back to focussing on the bigger picture. Mediation provides an effective way to reduce the conflict when the going gets tough. It is conducted with the aim that there should be no losers. Mediation can be particularly helpful when parents find it hard to agree on making suitable arrangements for children after a family breakdown.

An acrimonious split is not only expensive but is also likely to be destructive both for the participants and – perhaps more importantly – the children.  Mediation can help couples consider together the options they have about where they will live and to plan their future finances. If children are involved, it is easier for them if their parents co-operate.  The couple can consider together what arrangements will work best for their children.

The mediator’s role is to help those involved to identify what the issues are, then explore solutions through face-to-face discussions. The meetings take place in a neutral and safe environment and are completely confidential. Participants can leave the mediation process at any time if they are not happy with it. Mediation offers both a quicker and cheaper alternative for of resolving disputes than going to court.

Even if it does not prove possible to resolve all the issues, mediation helps to keep open the channels of communication and provides an opportunity to consider the best route to settle any outstanding issues with the minimum of acrimony and cost – both financially and emotionally. Sadly, whether married or cohabiting, separating couples often draw up battle lines which can leave lasting scars.

Sarah Unsworth and Ann Herd are both mediators accredited through the Family Mediation Council as well as being experienced family solicitors and collaboratively trained lawyers. Sarah is also qualified to undertake direct consultation with children. Their qualifications and specialist experience mean that they can provide clients with access to all options for resolving issues arising from family breakdown.

Why not contact Sarah at [email protected] or Ann at [email protected] or call 01590 676933 for a preliminary chat about how the process works. Mediation could be your best chance to resolve matters cheaply and amicably. It has to be worth a call.