Alternative Dispute Resolution
Registered Office: Henstaff Court – Llantrisant Road – Cardiff – CF72 8NG | Company number 08433214
Supporting separated parents with Child Arrangements Orders. Support through Court.
Child Arrangements Order (C100) legal advice — Family Law — Non Molestation Order — Divorce — Friendly Law Professional — Court Support — Intermediary — Private Mediation
What is intermediary private mediation?
Private mediation, through a neutral intermediary, is a process that aims to support separated parents into agreement of fair parenting plans so that mothers and fathers can more harmoniously co-parent your children.
The concept is to avoid the unpleasant process of going to the Family Court.
Collaborative law working for you
The Family Court is overwhelmed with cases. In many instances, it can take a year or more to get Child Arrangements Orders in place. And often, the outcome is not necessarily suitable to one or other of the parents.
Collaborative law aims to put the right professionals together with you, at the right time, to help you negotiate how to share your children with each other.
We understand that separation and divorce is a challenging process. An unfortunate bi-product being that it keeps both parties engaged in conflict.
Conflict is not good for anyone and takes a unhealthy toll on mental health. Most of all, conflict affects the children of the family most.
Our aim is to support you in taking as much animosity out of the processes as possible.
Cambridge and Ely based McKenzie Friend specialising in Child Arrangements Orders.
Making best use of the Court in the right way
There is a common misconception that the first thing a separating couple should do is rush straight into the Family Court.
This is not how the system was set up.
REMEMBER — When you go to Family Court, you give up control of your outcome.
Using the Court efficiently, improves outcomes and gets results quick, with less conflict — allowing you both to move on with your lives — and letting your children be spared the inevitable emotional upset of seeing their parents warring over who is right and wrong etc.
It is always better to go to Court with as much pre-agreed as possible.
We successfully assist parents in making safe parenting plans. If everything can be agreed, we need only go to Court for a Consent order.
In other circumstances, we approach the Court to resolve only those issues which cannot be worked out through private mediation (for example, the number of days a child spends with the non resident parent).
What if no agreements can be reached?
There is always the fallback of the Family Court.
But remember, this is a long and unpleasant process which often causes more family division than equitable solutions. And you are not in control of the outcome in the same way!
Compromise is something we all have to face in our lives.
It is always advisable to keep the Childrens’ best interests at heart — and remember, if the parents cannot reach agreement, this is likely to introduce unnecessary emotional and psychological harm to the Child.
What does the Service cost?
We offer an initial consultation by telephone or Zoom which is free of charge and lasts up to 45 minutes.
We charge per hour for follow-up meetings and for everything we are asked to do on your behalf. Time is calculated in fifteen minute increments which are rounded up. It is far less expensive than a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) — with better results.
- Form completion service
- Case management
- Drafting Consent Orders
Equality and Quality Assured
No matter which parent contacts us first, we take a neutral stance in everything that we do.
Our role is to promote your equal rights and the rights of the Child.
In this process, we do not take sides. We work with both of you in collaboration.
Our work in this way, provides better and safer outcomes which save time and fees in, what otherwise can be, expensive legal wrangling.
What if I suffered Domestic Abuse?
At least 40% of the cases we see feature allegations of domestic abuse by one or other party. This is, in part, why Courts are so overwhelmed. Domestic abuse cases take twice as long to resolve through Court.
If a relationship was toxic and abusive, then, for all concerned, the best outcome was for that relationship to come to an end.
It is important to draw a distinction between historic allegations of abuse, and ongoing issues of concern.
Our role is not to judge anyone, or to forensically examine allegations.
Historic allegations are more straightforward to manage. The important consideration is to help conflicting parents keep away from each other wherever possible. For example, neutral handover locations or handovers via school drop and collection times.
Historic abuse allegations should not be used to deny the rights of the Child to equal access to both their parents. Even the Family Court will ensure that a Child can spend time with both parents.
What if there is allegations of abuse to the Child?
This can be more difficult to resolve. If a child has been abused, especially physically or sexually, then private mediation is not the right answer.
This would be an exceptional circumstance where the case must come before the Family Court to be resolve.
What is most important, is safety first. This might mean that a Contact Centre is used for supervised access. Cafcass will guide the Court based upon each set of circumstances.
Should I ask for a Contact Centre?
This depends on the reasons behind the need for a Contact Centre.
A Contact Centre should be seen as an interim solution rather than a long term one.
Contact can either be supported or supervised. The main difference is around report creation for the Court or the Local Authority.
An example of when a centre can be beneficial is when the Child and the non resident parent have not seen each other in a long time and they both need an opportunity to refamiliarise with each other. Or, perhaps the non resident parent is not in suitable accomodation for the Child’s needs.
Do I get a Court Order?
Once everything is agreed, under our mediation scheme, we will assist you to apply for the agreement to be converted to a Child Arrangements Order through the Family Court.
What if things change?
Lives never stand still. Things can and do change. We are here to support you and your family, no matter what the circumstances.
What is important, is continuity for the Children, wherever possible.
If a Court Order (by consent) needs to be amended to reflect changes in the family circumstances, then we can assist you to get those changes into revised Family Court Orders.
- Families Need Fathers (FNF)
- Women’s Aid
- Apply for a Child Arrangements Order
- The Children Act 1989
- Family Procedure Rules (Practice Directions)
- Help with paying Court Filing Fees (for benefits claimants)
- Application for an Occupation Order / Non Molestation Order