Separations are hard, and they’re even harder when children are involved. As a grandparent, you’re not just worried about your child – you’re also concerned for your grandchildren.
You’re not alone; a recent study by the Newfield Family Justice Observatory found that a significant 10% of all private law applications each year come from non-parents. Strikingly, grandparents account for 15% in England and 63% in Wales.
It’s a testament to the role grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives. But, you may ask, how can you navigate this difficult terrain while ensuring the best interests of your grandchildren? Mediation might just be your answer.
The Predicament of Grandparents
The existing legal landscape can often appear daunting, particularly when you’re dealing with private children matters or arrangements. The reality is that Legal Aid is mostly unavailable for the majority of private law applications.
Even recent reforms effective from 1st May 2023, aimed at assisting those applying for a Special Guardianship Order or those with Parental Responsibility responding to such an order, continue to be subject to Legal Aid means testing.
For many grandparents, this can translate into a challenging situation. Capital held in their homes can push them out of the Legal Aid bracket due to means testing. As a result, many grandparents find themselves in a financial quandary when seeking justice in the best interests of their grandchildren.
The Emotional Impact: Bridging the Gap
Grandparents are often the rock of stability for children when their parents separate. They can provide an oasis of calm in a storm of change. With their wealth of life experience, grandparents can help children understand that while families change, the love that underpins them doesn’t.
Through mediation, grandparents can ensure that this vital emotional support is recognised and preserved.
Mediation: The Path to Resolution
This is where mediation steps in. As Angie Brown, Head of Dootsons Family and Mediation Team, emphasises, “Getting the message out to everyone who may need help finding solutions to family arrangements, that there are alternatives to Court and the legal process, is extremely important”.
With over a decade of mediation experience, Angie encourages those considering legal action to first explore mediation. This collaborative approach provides a cost-effective, speedy, and cooperative alternative to court proceedings.
Understanding the Mediation Process
Mediation isn’t a mysterious process, but a step-by-step journey toward resolution. The first step is usually a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This initial meeting aims to understand your unique circumstances and assess if mediation could be the right path forward.
From there, a series of joint meetings typically follow, guided by a neutral mediator who helps facilitate constructive conversation.
The Benefits of Mediation: Beyond the Financial
While we’ve touched on the cost and speed benefits of mediation, it’s also important to consider the emotional benefits. Mediation is less adversarial than court proceedings, which can help preserve family relationships during a trying time.
This process encourages open communication and collaboration, fostering an environment where everyone’s voice is heard. These can be invaluable in ensuring the child’s best interests are served while maintaining family bonds.
Stepping Up for Your Grandchildren & Embracing Mediation as a Powerful Tool
As a grandparent, you play a crucial role in your grandchildren’s lives. In times of family upheaval, like separation, you become an even more integral support system.
Remember, you’re not alone, and there are resources and solutions available. Mediation offers a path that prioritises understanding, cooperation, and the best interests of your grandchild.
It’s a viable alternative to the traditional court process and can help ensure that your grandchild’s well-being remains the priority in any decision-making process.
The Dootsons Difference: Mediation Services For You
At Dootsons, we recognise the challenging landscape grandparents navigate during their children’s separation. We’re here to help. We offer the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) for just £50 plus VAT.
It’s an accessible solution, especially in an era when the cost of living seems only to rise.
Our aim is to empower you with the knowledge and tools to resolve family matters effectively, efficiently, and empathetically. After all, at the heart of it, it’s about ensuring the well-being of your loved ones.
To find out more about our mediation services, visit our website at Mediation Services For You or get in touch with us directly to arrange or find out more about arranging a MIAM appointment on 01925 761047 or via email at email@example.com.