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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dixon

In Times of Trouble - Who Can Help?

If you are facing a separation, a child arrangements dispute, a divorce or financial dispute it's hard to know who is out there to help. It can feel like a dark art finding the right people to help without simply spending a small fortune but help is out there. Setting up your support network is key to success, so who might you need?


A Divorce Coach

If you've ever learned a sport you'll know that your coach was an integral part of reaching your goals and learning how to be the best you can be. A divorce coach is just that but has specialist skills in coaching you through your divorce, start to finish and beyond.

The emotions you feel during changeable times can inhibit good decision making and can cost you in the long run. Giving clear instructions to your legal team, having positive discussions in negotiation and potentially self representing in the family court takes mental clarity. This is what you can expect from your sessions with a divorce coach.


Family Mediator

Known for providing a MIAM (a certificate to pass through to court proceedings) a family mediator is underestimated in my view. Mediation provides a safe space for discussion and resolution. If you are facing child arrangements dispute you are likely to have to work with your counter parent for the duration of your child's childhood. Working together in mediation is a life skill that can be learned in mediation. If both parties properly engage in mediation it can be quick, simple and progressive for families. Families that go through the court system often land back into mediation because courts cannot resolve complex problems, where negotiation can. Financial settlements, divorce agreements and consent orders of all types can be solved in mediation. Your first sessions are often government funded - you have nothing to lose.


Family Solicitor

A good family solicitor can guide you and allow you to take a step back from the front line. Their guidance can be invaluable and whilst costly, sometimes making sure things are done 'the right way' is invaluable. It is paramount you select the right representation for you. Specialist family solicitors are out there, search for your particular type of case to get the best results.

There are new and different ways a solicitor can work for you. A collaborative solicitor works together with the apposing parties. It can involve a series of round table meetings that can mean you stay out of court and resolve matters quickly and cheaply. (www.Resolution.org.uk)

Costs of the average court battled case can cost you around £20,000 in legal work. Staying out of court and finding an experienced solicitor in your particular type of case can save you 50% plus.


Barrister

In simple terms you cannot enlist a barrister without your legal team of solicitors making the introduction. Imagine solicitors are your guide and communication to and fro the other party, they negotiate and deal with the tit for tat. Barristers are your voice in court. They are prepped by the solicitors and take the case for you on the day of court. They have a thorough understanding of the court and are 'impressive in the room' but they won't write letters for you and they often won't take the case from scratch.

Often specialists in their small area of law, your legal team will be able to recommend the right barrister for you,


McKenzie Friend

A McKenzie Friend is not a new thing, the first one was seen some 50 years ago but the rising of the professional McKenzie Friend is fairly new.

An McF is someone who is your comfort and guide in the family court. This can be a friend who you trust or a family member. Simply fill in a form at court on the day.

Professional McF's take this task to a whole new level and can help with self representation (litigant in person) from start to finish. They have experience in completing court papers, can assist you with statements, advise you on the likely course of events and assist you in the court room - but cannot speak for you.

Often McF's offer training in speaking in court and are able in helping you understand what should be said and what should not.

At a snip of the cost of the family solicitor / barrister route expect a McKenzie Friend to cost you less than £2,000 (10% of the likely spend on the legal professionals).


Consultants and Advisors

Gathering the best advice can help bring troubles to an end and save a fortune.

Consultant social workers, financial advisors and life coaches are underestimated in the family troubles. Often understanding what your options are or what the likely to be can give you clarity and help with negotiations.


Amy Dixon for the Divorce Directory


Find who you need on the Divorce Directory www.divorcedirectory.co.uk

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