Breaking point: New year divorce alert for family dispute specialists

Family dispute specialists at a national charity are preparing for their busiest fortnight of the year, as couples across the district make it their new year resolution to go their own separate ways.

Staff at National Family Mediation (NFM) are asking couples for whose relationships Christmas proved the final straw to open their eyes to the advantages of family mediation – a process used to settle finance, property and parenting issues through negotiation, rather than battling it out in court.

January sees a traditional rise in divorce and separation, as families emerge from the festive season having been battered by pressures on finances and relationships that have endured for some time but have been highlighted during the holiday.

"Our professional mediators are on new year alert, expecting a flood of enquiries,” says Jane Robey, NFM Chief Executive. “There will be many local couples who’ve decided for sure in the last couple of weeks to separate, but they’ll need more information about their options. It’s important they consider all the possible ways they can make arrangements for parenting, property and finance.

“Many couples think they must head off to a solicitor to prepare for a very expensive and protracted court room confrontation in which they can achieve a ‘victory’ over their ex. But there is a better way to manage your separation, and if you open your eyes to family mediation you’ll find it much quicker, much cheaper and much less stressful.

“Professional mediators are highly skilled third party negotiators with experience in helping families create long-term solutions that work well for their particular circumstances. Rather than leaving it to a court to decide who will live where, what happens to the money, debts and pensions, and arrangements for the children, mediation empowers families themselves to decide these things. It’s their future after all.

“You can head off to a family court for an acrimonious court room drama, or instead choose to talk with a professional family mediator who will help you agree on the vital things that need to be sorted for the future. Family mediation is a much, much quicker process, allowing you to remain in control of all the decisions affecting your family’s future,” she added.

Legal Aid remains available for family mediation.

Anyone wanting to know more can visit or call 0300 4000 636 to find their nearest professional non-profit family mediator.