Barnstaple mediation service's scheme could help reduce price and pain of divorce
By tinap | Friday, March 01, 2013, 11:46
A pioneering new initiative aimed at reducing the cost and heartache involved in separation and divorce has been launched by the North Devon Family Mediation Service (NDFMS).
The idea behind it is to help separating or divorcing couples manage the cost of their separation or divorce by offering a one-off, fixed price.
Amelia Tucker-Jones, Chief Executive Officer of the NDFMS, said, "We have a lot of experience with divorcing or separating couples. We know this is a stressful time for all involved. People want things to proceed as smoothly as possible while making sure they don't spend money unnecessarily. "
"We think our clients are often best protected by fixed costs. Each firm offers a fixed package - people have the option to purchase a specific amount of time from each solicitor and mediation service which we believe will be enough to resolve their issues."
The Choices programme also allows solicitors and the NDFMS to share basic information so everyone involved in the process is kept informed. This information could include appointment times, stage of mediation, legal advice, contact information, early stage legal forms that need preparation and, with client agreement, summaries of mediation sessions.
Ms Tucker-Jones said, "This approach offers people a degree of certainty about the process at what can be a very uncertain time in their lives."
Andrew Woo, a partner in Brewer, Harding and Rowe, one of the solicitors involved in the scheme said, "Divorce or separation is hard enough as it is. The Choices programme allows us to be more effective in what we do by offering people a more seamless process which, in turn, will alleviate some of the stress involved in divorce."
Although certain information will be shared, individuals will still have separate legal representation.
Romano Sidoli, a partner in Slee Blackwell which is also taking part in the initiative, said, "The objective of the Choices package is to share basic information between solicitors and the North Devon Family Mediation Service whilst maintaining our independence as solicitors and continuing to act in the best interests of our client."
Click HERE for more information about the Choices programme.