Uncouple: Changing times for changing families

Uncouple: Changing times for changing families

Natalie O’Shea, Claire Blakemore talks about how the divorce lawyer surrey bc is changing in favor of couples who are going through divorce or separation.

Natalie: This has been a difficult time for many families and especially for separated couples over the past year. How has the coronavirus affected couples gone through divorce or separation?

Claire: While some couples experienced more problems before the pandemic hit, others felt that the situation became more complicated and acute. For others, it was a time of reflection and the opportunity to help their family get through these difficult times. Due to the extra pressures of lockdown, I now see couples who were reluctant to make the difficult decision to separate but are now seeking out less confrontational options.

The profession and the judiciary are more aware that couples should be educated about all the options available to them to solve their problems.

Natalia: Looking ahead, and looking at all the options for clients who need support and help when their relationship is broken down, how can you see family law evolving and how will this benefit families?

Claire: For a while, we’ve seen changes. The selling of Court buildings is a sign that the courts and government have been emphasizing for some time that couples should try to resolve their problems without having to go to court. There is also a shift in the way that things are being done. It’s been a long process (and there are still delays), but the introduction of the no-fault divorce law in 2022 will not only make the divorce process less painful for divorcing spouses, but also reflect the current culture of dispute resolution.

Although there is still much to be done, mediation will continue to grow in popularity and use. The profession and the judiciary are more aware that couples should be educated about all the options available to them to solve their problems. It’s also encouraging to see more attention paid to the children affected by the family breakup. This is evident in the Family Solutions Group Report – Reframing support for families following parental separation. We as professionals need to be able to adapt to changing client demands and respond quickly to them. Uncouple was created to address this need.

Natalie: We are also seeing more couples making use of helpful resources and information from organizations such as Resolution, Voices in the Middle, and Money Helper. What are you seeing else?

Claire: It’s encouraging to see that couples have more resources to help them with the practical and emotional aspects of marriage. Our team has always ensured that our legal advice was relevant to our clients’ real lives. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. We have seen clients want more family support, which is why we created the podcast series Modern Relationships with Mariella Froup.

It was difficult until recently to get people to seek out more emotional and psychological services. However, the pandemic has brought into focus the importance of a holistic approach because a divorce or separation is a significant life event. I am now able to work with more professionals in the therapeutic field than I did three or four years ago. I believe the best approach is multi-skilled. This includes not only financial advice but also emotional and practical support. We bring in other experts to assist couples who use Uncouple. This makes the process faster and more affordable as they are directly working with the couple.

Natalie: While many people are familiar with mediation and arbitration, they may not be aware of what they entail. How do you feel about clients understanding mediation and arbitration?

Claire: Clients often have a hard time understanding the options and deciding which route is best for them. Lawyers have to discuss all options with clients. Last week, I spoke with a couple about mediation. They had been told by other lawyers that it was illegal for one lawyer to work alongside a couple. This is completely false. Mediation is an option for couples, since the 1980s, when one of my colleagues, Diana Parker, and others, created mediation for family issues.

The lawyers have the responsibility to discuss all options with clients.

There is a lot of misinformation. While some couples may need to go to court, others can resolve their disputes by working with one lawyer. From the beginning, I tell my clients what I believe is the best way for them. This is based on what I hear. I don’t believe in one route. While I can litigate if necessary, I also can make deals. It’s all about adapting to the situation of your clients.

We are very happy to have created Uncouple. It gives couples a lot of flexibility in how their situation is solved. This includes both directed focused negotiations, which is the evaluation and mediation aspects, with decision making (arbitration), if agreements cannot be reached. There is no single solution. They can move around as they please and don’t have to go to Court. While we understand that there will be disagreements of opinion and competing outcomes, we also remove any parts from the court process that could inadvertently cause additional conflict. It is done privately and it is cheaper. There will be more changes and improvements in the approach that can only benefit divorcing and separated couples moving forward.

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