News & Legal Updates
Sign up to news & legal updates
Mudslinging, name calling and stand offs. A court room battle which ends with no discernible success for anyone. Is that how you would choose to separate and divorce? It is certainly not the way that I, as a lawyer, want to conduct my client’s cases.
Gary Lineker recently accused lawyers of fuelling acrimony between divorcing couples. He also suggested that lawyers will try and increase their fees at every opportunity making the whole process very expensive.
In my experience that is simply not the case. Family Lawyers do their upmost to reduce conflict and help parties make progress.
In Scotland we have an obligation to explore and explain alternative methods of dispute resolution to our clients at the outset and let them choose the process that best suits their circumstances. One option is mediation. Mediation helps couples work together in a non-confrontational way. As such, it reduces the stress, uncertainty and cost that court proceedings can inevitably bring.
I am presently undertaking training to qualify as a family law mediator. 36 hours of training covering negotiation, child development and reaction to separation as well as adult reaction to loss. The training culminates in a final assessment. Role play (love it or hate it) features significantly and actors are brought into to provide realistic clients and challenging scenarios.
The most recent part of the training focussed on adult dynamics and reaction to loss. It opened my eyes to the importance of understanding, recognising and acknowledging the range of emotions that someone going through a separation will experience. The experience is likened to grief. Parties can feel overwhelmed and uncertain about their future. That can trigger flight or fight reactions. These emotions cannot and should not be ignored. Indeed, recognising and naming these emotions and reassuring clients that these are normal reactions is likely to be helpful.
It is also essential to realise that a couple going through a separation will not feel the same emotions at the same time. While one person may be ready to accept their relationship is at an end and move forward, the other may not have reached that point. This impacts not only on their behaviour but also on the decisions that they make. Part of being a good lawyer and mediator is recognising that and being able to deal with it effectively.
During the course, we discussed different personality traits and how they may impact upon behaviour, decisions and interactions with others. It is interesting to consider that how you react to someone is dependent on how they interact with you. What is essential for a lawyer and successful mediator is to bring a couple into the present and deal with the here and now. It is only then that real progress can be made.
For me, as a family lawyer and hopefully soon to be mediator, Gary Lineker’s views could not be further from the truth. Understanding client’s, how they are feeling and knowing what I can do to help them is an integral part of my job, as is trying to oust acrimony. I hope that by continuing with mediation training I can continue to expand and improve these skills.
For now, Gary and I will have to agree to disagree. Perhaps the only thing we can agree on is the tastiness of a particular potato crisp brand!
The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.
Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.
Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.
Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.
© Blackadders LLP 2011
Members of the Law Society of Scotland. Authorised to conduct Investment Business under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 by the Financial Services Authority.
Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.Back to News & Legal updates