Monthly Archives: August 2015

Paying For Mediation

Many people have pre-conceived ideas about how mediation is to be paid for. Some believe that it is an expensive service, others that it is free, and yet more are not aware that legal aid is still available for mediation. Mediation is a cost-effective method of discussing issues following on from your separation for most people, whether paying privately or for those who have a low income and can satisfy Legal Aid’s demands for documentary evidence. In addition, if one of you is entitled to legal aid, there are other benefits in that the assessment becomes free, as does the first mediation appointment. This is a real help to those who are concerned about paying costs which would better be put towards the separated family. For those who pay privately, we have concessionary rates for those who just miss legal aid on a low income and with limited savings.

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There is always an assessment meeting beforehand for a fixed cost (or free if legal aid) and you will hear full details of costs of mediation during that meeting so that you will be aware of what your outlay will be for the mediation process. There will be, no doubt, many worries that you will both have during this situation and being fully aware of what this process will cost should set your minds at rest.

For more information contact us on 01908 410522

Warring Families Beware

The Court of Appeal’s judgement in Ilott and Mitson (2015) EWCA Civ 797 may encourage adult children to challenge wills where they consider their parents have not made reasonable provision for them.

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Melita Jackson had left an estate worth £486,000 to the RSPCA and Blue Cross charities after her death in 2004. Her daughter Heather Ilott now 54 challenged the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Heather and her mother were estranged after she left home at the age of 17 with a boyfriend and she had been excluded from the will. Mrs Jackson made it clear that her daughter should inherit nothing.

The court determined that she was not given a reasonable provision from the estate and awarded her £163,000 to buy her home and provide                 future maintenance.

This ruling means people can still disinherit their children but they will have to have a good reason why. Adult children who have been left out of wills may find it easier to challenge them if they have not been left a reasonable provision.

What’s your story?

Any parent facing six weeks of summer holidays has the challenge of keeping the kids entertained, and if you have separated from your partner, the challenge is even tougher.

The Oxford Story Museum does a fantastic job at offering diversion for families who love reading. http://www.storymuseum.org.uk

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Their imaginative conversion of a rambling old house on Pembroke Street now offers rooms where children can take part in a fabulous array of book-related activities.

There’s an Illustration Exhibition with a live ‘Illustrator Zoo’; the chance to dress up and sit on the Talking Throne; a giant bed, where all sorts of people are reading bed-time stories – and there are rooms rigged out to feel like a scene out of people’s favourite books – Treasure Island, Narnia – where you can snuggle up and read stories to your heart’s content.

We all love stories. As adults, we develop the knack of creating a story in our heads about how life is treating us – usually unfairly ­– and when our marriage breaks down, that story becomes a script we hang on to, to prove how badly the other person has behaved, and how awful they made us feel.

In family mediation, those stories are important. Focus mediators always start by asking each person to spend an hour just talking about themselves, in private, in complete confidence, so that the mediator gets the hang of how things look from both points of view, and each of you feels heard. But when the joint sessions start, at which you come together with the mediator to discuss the issues you’ve got to sort out – arrangements for the children, what’s happening about the house, how is maintenance going to work, and what about the pensions – those stories become less important. It’s not about who did what anymore; it’s about who is going to do what, so that you can both move forward into your independent lives. Not exactly stepping through the wardrobe, and not nearly so much fun, but a constructive, reasonable, mature way of dealing with divorce. It’s comparatively quick, and cheap – and the kids will thank you for it.