Virtual mediation for families
With the new restrictions in place, separated and separating families are looking to find alternative methods of resolving disputes between them either in relation to children or divorce and finances.
In response to this need, Watson Thomas Solicitors now offer a virtual form of mediation to assist parties who wish to resolve issues which arise between them during the period of “lockdown” relating to the Coronavirus.
Many separated families have found the government restrictions have presented new challenges for them. In particular, where one family needs to self-isolate whilst the children are with them, but where the children are due to return to the other parent during the period of self-isolation, a question arises as to how the arrangements should change, particularly where those arrangements are governed by a Court Order.
Other families have encountered conflict where one parent or child is deemed vulnerable and falls within the government “shielding” criteria. Concerns can arise if one parent is not remaining at home and “shielding” and then returns the child to the vulnerable parent.
The closure of schools has placed added pressure on parents up and down the country. More so with separated parents. In these situations, the parents may not always be aligned as to the best approach and structure for the children.
How can virtual mediation help?
Virtual mediation can be used to assist with specific issues such as the examples above, or longer-term discussions as to the appropriate arrangements for the children.
We conduct mediation using a video conferencing tool. We start by having an initial meeting with each parent individually. At that meeting, we discuss the issues and understand each parent’s position. We explain a little about the mediation process.
We would then arrange a joint mediation session. Ahead of that mediation we would send out an agenda setting out the items to be discussed during that meeting.
Mediation would normally take two sessions and sometimes a third meeting is needed to conclude matters.
Divorce and finance
For those parties considering a divorce, or who were about to commence divorce proceedings prior to the coronavirus outbreak, it can be difficult to see how to move forward with the divorce in these circumstances.
Whilst the world has currently stopped moving, it will not remain this way on an indefinite basis. We will eventually come out of this time and start to move forwards again.
The virtual mediation sessions can be used to explore an agreement to find a way forward for both parties as and when the economic climate allows. Divorce proceedings can still be issued and financial agreements prepared and filed at Court. This can all be agreed and actioned on a remote basis through mediation.
How much does virtual mediation cost?
The costs of virtual mediation varies from £500 plus VAT for one session, to £2000 plus VAT for a series of meetings, leading to a financial agreement.
Watson Thomas Solicitors have offices in Fleet, Guildford, Bracknell, Camberley, Farnborough and Woking.
At Watson Thomas our staff can work from home and access all systems so even if all are required to self-isolate this will not affect the day-to-day running of your case. We can also hold appointments via telephone and video conferencing, as needs be, to ensure that your service is not interrupted.
If you would like to discuss your current situation with an expert family lawyer, please call on 0800 488 0218.