Jackie Norton
Family Mediator

Jackie Norton is a family mediator, supervisor and trainer based in the north of England. For two days each week, she helps families negotiate their own agreements. With eleven years experience, she finds this method helps parents feel in control of their own decisions and empowered to help their children through a difficult time. Jackie has been training new mediators for National Family Mediation for the last five years.

Mediation is a low-cost alternative to Court battles and helps families resolve disputes arising from their separation or divorce. Children often get caught in their parents’ conflict and a family mediator can help parents avoid getting into this situation. Mediation can deal with issues around the children (contact, residence, maintenance) as well as the property and financial aspects of separation and divorce.

Jackie says that sometimes parents get fed up with fighting and want a better solution – mediation can help them find it.

Question
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Q.

My x wife has stopped access to my 2 year old and I looking to sort mediation but in mean time I want to try and get my access back I just want him in my life I would like to know what are the legal rights I have to go get him and have him the set days I had been sticking to if you can help with this many thanks

A.

Hi, you would have to speak to a Solicitor to get legal advice on your rights. It will all depend on whether you were married, whether your name is on the child's birth certificate etc. A mediator will be able to answer most of these questions for you but they cannot give you advice. If you are simply wanting to get something sorted before the mediation gets going, you might consider sending a text, email or phoning your ex to ask her if she would be willing to go along with a temporary arrangement until you can get to mediation. Perhaps there is a third party who can facilitate the contact if you and your ex don't want to meet up in person. Have a look at the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk for lots of information about this.

Hope that's helpful.

Jackie

Q.

My partner left me when I was 5 months pregnant and contacted me 2 weeks before the baby was due to ask about access etc. He had been coming to see the baby regularly since his birth and I have just extended these visits to twice a week and will be extending then to 3 times a week in a few weeks time. I have also offered his family to come and see the baby but they want me to go to his house and sit in a separate room while they have the baby. I am breastfeeding so have told him he cannot have the baby on his own to the moment. He has now gone to mediation and I have been asked to attend a meeting. My question is really about what to expectas he has access to his son and we have agreed his together so I don't know why he has gone down this path. Thanks

A.

It sounds like you have done really well so far to make contact work and I'm sure it hasn't been easy. Even where contact has been taking place, many people still come to mediation to work out details or plans for the future.

Unfortunately, you probably wont know exactly what your ex wants until you get to a joint mediation session where he can say what he wants. You would each have an individual meeting with the mediator first without your ex being there so this is your chance to talk it through and work out if there is anything you would like to discuss. Remember you don't have to agree to anything you don't want to - mediation is all about each party being able to air their views without getting into conflict so you can discuss whatever you want about your child. There is a lot of information on the National Family Mediation website - if you look on there, it might give you some ideas. Otherwise, I would just go along to meet the mediator and find out a bit more. Hope that helps.

Jackie

Q.

My son is 6, his father and I have never been together and rarely see eye to eye but muddle through for the sake of our son. He's always been a drinker, when I was pregnant he would drink a bottle of wine before going to bed each morning (we worked night shift) his drinking did improve though and it got less and less. My problem is over the years it has gone
back up and each and every night he has my son overnight he gets drunk  (luckily he still lives with his parents) although 1 of those nights his mum drinks also and his dad is over 70 and can't cope with an active 6 year old. I just want to know my rights on the whole drinking aspect. I know he's drove drunk but to my knowledge not with my son in the car with him. Still the thought terrifies me that he could. What can I do to ensure my sons safety? I'm not looking to cut contact in any way - a boy needs his father, but I need my son to be safe.

A.

You are obviously aware of your ex's habits and when your son is likely to be at risk. Your main sign of safety sounds like his mum apart from when she is also drinking. You have a duty to keep your son safe. So you could contact children's services to see what advice they will give you. If you are seriously concerned, they will probably tell you to stop contact. Alternatively you could try to engage him in a conversation if he would go to mediation.  Look on the NFM website www.nfm.org.uk for other advice or to find your nearest service.  

Hope that helps. 

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

My partner left when I was 30 weeks pregnant and had nothing to do with the rest of my pregnancy nor was he at the birth. since our son was born (6 months ago) he has been having him for a few hours a week during the daytime, this then moved on to 2 nights a week at his flat. he has now moved in with his girlfriend and her teenage children and will, if he stays overnight there be in a travel cot in his/his girlfriends bedroom which is something I don't feel comfortable with and would prefer for him to be at home with me at night in his own cot/room and just see his father during the day.....do I have to agree for him to stay overnight or can I say no? Thank you

A.

"It sounds like you have both done very well to get significant contact going for your son and the overnights with his dad are a real positive in the eyes of the law as long as he is safe and well. Whilst I realise it's really difficult to trust your ex and his new partner (+family) because you probably don't know them, I wonder if this could be sorted by simply having a conversation with a mediator present? You mentioned your baby son would be in a carry cot in their bedroom - was he in something different at your ex's flat? I wonder if your ex has had this conversation with his girlfriend already, i.e. that he will be having his baby son stay over and whether she is okay with this? Its very hard to give you advice in this situation - you appear very reasonable and I suspect there is a way to make this work. Have a look at the National Family Mediation website to find your nearest service or ring NFM on 0300 4000 636 to find out. You can have a meeting with a mediator first before they contact your ex if that helps. Good luck.

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

Hi Jackie...my husband and I have recently separated. We have 2 wonderful children and I can only hope that for their sake we can reach some sensible solutions amicably. If we do mange to agree things between ourselves regarding property/maintenance etc how do we make this legal or can't we unless we go through the courts? I look forward to your reply!!

A.

Hi, it certainly sounds like you want to do the right thing and that's half the battle! As you are married, the only way to make a financial settlement legally binding and final is to have it ratified by the Court. Often, solicitors suggest you should coincide this with the final date of your divorce - I don't know if you have decided you want a divorce yet but it usually takes around 6 months. The child maintenance can be a separate thing in that you can agree it between yourselves as soon as you like. If you come to an agreement about the rest of the finance and property issues, you can have this made legal by the Court without too much expense. You can download all the forms from the HMCTS (Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service) yourself at no cost. If you want a Solicitor to represent you, they will do all this for you but will charge you. A cheaper alternative is to go through mediation - they will take you both through the process, helping you to resolve any differences of opinion, then write up your agreement which then needs a Solicitor to put it into a consent order ready for the Court to approve. Have a look on the National Family Mediation website - www.nfm.org.uk . There is a service in Derby who you could ring and talk it through with. Also, if there is any chance your income is low enough, you may be able to get legal aid for the mediation (making it free) but you can't get this for Solicitors any more so its worth investigating. Mediators are also trained in children's issues and can give you information and help you sort out arrangements so it might suit you all round. It might depend how willing your husband is to consider this option. Good luck.

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

hi my ex has initiated mediation for our son. I'm concerned who pays as I cannot afford to being single mum on benefits

A.

If you are already registered with a mediation service you need to ask them if they offer legally aided mediation. They will assess if you qualify for legal aid. If so,  it won't cost you anything. If they don't offer legal aid, you need to find a service that does. If you are not sure,  go to the NFM website to find your nearest one. www.nfm.org.uk

It might be nfm themselves who cover that area. Or ring them on 0300 4000 636

Hope that helps. 

Jackie

Q.

How would I know if my ex partner has seen a solicitor? How long
does it take to recieve a letter

A.

Unfortunately there is now way until they make contact with you.

Jackie Norton

Q.

We are parents and grandparents wanting some guidance for our son.About nine years ago he started a relationship which resulted in three beautiful grandchildren.They didn't get married and sadly about two years ago our son decided to walk away from the relationship. There were many
reasons(struggling financially, too much too soon, they are both freelance workers) but he got to the point that he couldn't cope with the continuous arguments and did not want the children growing up in this kind of environment.Although both parents decided on a living apart period it
didn't achieve any reconciliation.Our son loves his children very much and wants to stay close by so that he can see them on a regular basis.He is anartist and earns money to live and support when and where he can with the children.A while ago they did attend meetings with a mediator and out of that came an agreement for our son to pay a weekly amount(this is not much but it is all he can afford) and also have them to stay mainly at the weekends. He also pays for weekly out of schoollessons and manages presents on birthdays and Christmas.He does his best to ensure that the children have a great time with him when they stay and sleep over at his flat.They have had periods of managing to sustain an amicable realtionship around the children and we thought things were reaching a satisfactory point where they were both putting their personal greavances to one side and concentrating on the children's well being. You should also know that
we support our son financially all the time. Everything we give him is accounted for and he returns the money as soon as he receives some.We do this mainly so that he can continue to stay close to his children and look after them when he does. He will also stay with the children in his ex partners house while she is away working on a job.Just recently both parents have found themselves another partner. Our son was absolutely delighted for his ex partner and told her so hoping that it would mean that they could move on to the next phase but unfortunately our sons new relationship has caused the opposite effect. His ex partner has always suffered terribly with PMT which turned her in to a very irrational person for about three weeks of the month.Fortunately it was never the children that felt this wrath but our son suffered terribly. These outbursts of
temper have continued and during these time she is very insulting and abusive towards our son, telling friends and family that he is a rubbish father, and selfish. He has tried his best to ignore but more often than not it really affects him and he starts to question his self worth.So now  that our son is in this new relationship the abuse has started again and she is threatening and demanding all kinds of things.His ex partner is also struggling financially so this is something else that tends to make her become agressive towards our son. A strange contradiction to this is
that when ever she has a problem our son is the first one she turns to for comfort. He really is at the point of not knowing what to do or where to turn. He really can't face the idea of this continuing for goodness knows how long living like this. Ideally I feel that they should go back to mediation but when our son has asked to do this in the past his ex partner has refused. Is there somewhere he could go to talk all this through? We know that it may have to be paid for but if someone was able to give him guidance or advice it might make life more bearable.

A.

You have all clearly done very well so far maintaining contact in difficult circumstances and with variable pressures. It is often the case that new relationships throw up unexpected reactions. I think you are wise to try to get them back in to mediation but if she refuses you can't force it. I am wondering from what you say whether both could benefit from some individual counselling so each get some support.  She might then be more receptive to mediation if they cant sort arrangements themselves. They could access this through their GPs.

Hope that helps

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

Hi I am having abit of a hard time from my ex partner and his partner we have mediation booked through the courts re them having contact with my son as it stopped just after christmas there have been alot of false accusations made againest me and I would prefer the mediation be just me the mediator and my sons father will his partner or anyome else be

A.

'It sounds like you are feeling under a lot of pressure. I hope I can reassure you that mediation should give you more of a voice. Importantly for your situation, it should only include you and your son's father. It is certainly not usual practice to invite new partners in unless both of the actual parents feel it would be helpful. If you are meeting the mediator on your own first, then make sure you ask this question. The other thing is the allegations made against you. If you have been convicted of anything, then the mediator would know from talking to the relevant authorities but if it's just one person's word against another and no action taken by the authorities, then you have no need to worry. The mediator's job is not to judge you, either as a person or as a parent. They are there to see if they can get the two of you to negotiate some sensible arrangements so that your son is safe and supported. If they feel mediation is not suitable, they will say so. Tell the mediator about your concerns - they should be able to explain how it will be handled. Hope that helps.'

Jackie Norton

Q.

Can the outcome of mediation be an official access agreement being made or is it purely for advice and 3rd party input in disagreements?

A.

'The outcome of mediation should be recorded in either an Outcome Statement or a Memorandum of Understanding, depending on whether or not it contains financial issues. Either document is not in itself legally binding but if you have already started Court proceedings, and both of you would like your mediated agreement made into an Order (which is legally binding) then the Judge may agree to do it. Generally though, Judges follow the 'no order principle' where they try not to make orders. The reason for this is that children's needs change as they grow so its often not helpful to have arrangements set in stone. Mediation is a way of starting the communication so that you can put the adult disputes to one side - easier said than done but its brilliant when it works. What the Court really wants is for parents to find a way to negotiate arrangements between themselves as the child grows up. So, the answer to your question is yes it's possible to make it official but quite unlikely. Hope that helps.'

Jackie Norton

Q.

How can I sort out the financial issues such as who gets what from the house, how long I can live in etc., if my ex refuses mediation. I want to stay in the house as long as my children need it, he wants  money and wants to get an equity release.

 

A.

This is a common situation and if you cannot sort it in mediation, it will cost you in legal fees to get it agreed and implemented. There are various ways you can settle it. It could be that you stay in the house and your ex has a share recorded as a chargeback. That means you would pay him back at a later stage. Or if you can afford to, you take out a mortgage to give him a lump sum now. It will also depend on who owns the house and whether or not you were married. You have more rights if you were married. If your ex definitely wont go for mediation as the much cheaper option then you each need to find a Solicitor."

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

Hi, my son is 5 years of age me and his dad split up when he was a few months old, for the first years the dad did not want to know or have him, but his mum did so he did see my son when he was at her house he also never paid any maintenance until recently. The arrangements at the moment are that he has my son Wednesday night after school and one night every weekend to sleep, but his mum (nana) wants to have him the other weekend night meaning that my son is gone all weekend since i have said no to this he is know threatening me with court action to get him more, baring in mind he doesn't want him the extra night it is so my son can sleep at his mum (my sons nana). Does he have a case with this would he be granted more access. thank you for you time

A.

"There are several issues here. First of all, it is impossible to predict what a Judge would award him in terms of the amount of time. However, it is unlikely they would give him all weekend every weekend because it is good for children to have quality time with both of his parents, so you need some too. The maintenance issue is a separate one and you can look up Child Maintenance Options - they are separate to the CSA and will give you advice about what he should be paying, providing you know what his income is. Then you can decide whether you confront him about this or go through the CSA who will charge for their services. Your son's nana is again a separate issue - she has the right to apply for contact herself if she wants. If your ex simply tries to add in contact for her with his application, the Judge is unlikely to award it to her that way. I strongly advise you to think about family mediation. You would have an impartial mediator helping you to negotiate something acceptable to you both and this could include the child maintenance issue too. You can look on the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk for more information and find your nearest service. You can contact them and meet a mediator yourself before saying anything to your ex or the mediation service could contact him to invite him to meet the mediator too. You would only go ahead with a joint mediation session if you both wanted to and the mediator felt it was appropriate, so its worth finding out about. Legal aid is available for mediation if either of you are on low incomes whereas you would have to pay large fees for Solicitors and Court. I hope you can get it sorted."

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

my partners ex is insisting he pays for the mediation for himself and her as its usually priced per person and he can barely afford to pay for it in the first place, is this right? I believe that legal aid was stopped and no longer an option? thanks

A.

"yes it is true that legal aid for solicitors stopped in April 2013 but we can still get legal aid for mediation. Your partner needs to make sure he has been assessed for legal aid for mediation in which case it would be free. You are right, it is done on an individual basis so one might be eligible for free mediation where the other is not. If it turns out that neither your partner nor his ex is eligible for legally aided mediation, she may well have stated that she wants him to pay her fees but that is his choice. He might decide that's better than paying legal fees which will be a lot more. There is more information about this and other aspects of conflict in separation on the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk "

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

Hi me and my wife have separated we have a six year old boy. I work part time she works full time thats how ut worked so i had have him most if the time,we are arguing and appealing over who has child benefit,is there anything i can do to help my situation.

A.

Hi, it sounds like there was an established period of time where you were looking after your little boy for a significant part of the week - this is something which would be taken into account if you ended up fighting in Court. You could get some legal advice about that. Personally, I would not recommend Court for either of you if you can possibly avoid it. What is the issue about the child benefit - is it because whoever claims that is also entitled to claim the tax credits? I can understand this would then be important to both of you and why you are arguing. If you were to try mediation where you could both sit down and talk through the issues which are causing conflict, you might be able to come to some agreement about how you can share the finances more fairly. For instance, if one is able to claim more in tax credits then perhaps they would agree to pay the other more in child benefit so that the overall financial arrangement is fairer.

It will also depend on who has the majority care of your son and whether you have agreed this to be the case for his best interests. I recommend you have a look at the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk . there is lots of information on there but also you can see where your nearest service is. You can meet a mediator and they will contact your wife. If your wife agrees to try it too, it will be considerably cheaper than using Solicitors or fighting through Court and hopefully it would improve your parenting relationship so that its less stressful for all of you. Good luck, I hope you manage to sort it."

Kind regards, Jacqui

Q.

Hello I have been divorced for 5 years. When my wife and I were together, I gave up my job so that she could continue working and I looked after our two children. When she left me she took the children with her and I shared access with them, having them for three days a week. However, since going into partnership with my brother's business things have been difficult and I am not sure what days I will be at home and able to have the children. I still have them on Saturdays and Sundays but the week days vary due to my different work commitments. When I am working from home I would like to see them as often as I can. However, my wife has restricted access giving no reason other than she wants me to have them on the same day/s each week, without any leeway at all. As this is impossible with the nature of my job I am unable to see them as much as I wish. Also money is a big problem as the business is taking off, and whilst she has an well paid job, lives with her mother, who acts as a full time free child minder and receives tax credits and child benefit, the CSA have demanded £200 per month from me. I do not have this amount at the moment, and would like to be able to share the access so that the finances are more equally shared. As it is I pay for their school meals and various clubs they attend. If I were to have them for half the week, would I still be eligible to pay £200? I have tried on countless occasions to come to some arrangement, even going to a mediator (which I could barely afford to do) but it seems that I have absolutely no rights what so ever. If you could give me any advice as I now fear that I will lose my home if I cannot find the CSA payments each month.

A.

"Hi, it sounds as though you were making the contact arrangements work until your work pattern became unpredictable. This is a good sign despite the fact things have gone downhill since because it suggests there has been co-operation between you. You must talk to the CSA about those payments as they are the only ones with the power to reduce any payments. The number of nights the children stay with you will affect the amount you pay the CSA so give them a call for some advice. You mentioned you had been to see a mediator and it sounds as if you had to pay for this and I don't know how far you got. If it was a private mediator who does not deal in legal aid, that will be why. However, if you go to a mediation service who does offer legal aid, you might find your income is low enough to make you eligible - they would have to do a financial assessment. Have a look on the National Family Mediation website for your nearest service (they all offer legal aid) www.nfm.org.uk. There is also lots of information on the website you might find helpful. If you decide you don't want mediation and want to use the legal route, there is no legal aid available for this now, so you would have to pay full Solicitors costs. You could take the matter to Court but this is often expensive and doesn't help your relationship with your ex, so if you can talk to her, that would be the best way to sort this out. I hope you manage to get somewhere with this."

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

Hi, you don't say how long you have been separated and sometimes this is relevant as these kind of difficulties tend to arise in the first few months while feelings are very strong. Sometimes they settle down after a while, sometimes they don't. Unfortunately there is no set guidance on what the rules should be because every family is different and you need to agree how you are going to do things for your children. You have various options open to you. The best would be sitting down with your ex and talking this through but from your description, it sounds very unlikely. You could try mediation - if you look on the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk you will be able to find the nearest mediation provider to you. If you contact them, they will contact your ex and try to engage him in a mediation. You would each meet the mediator first on your own so you have a chance to talk things through without your ex being present. Then, if everyone is willing to give it a try and the mediator thinks it would help, they would arrange a joint meeting to try to thrash these things out. It often works because it is voluntary, parents get the chance to get things off their chest, there is a focus on the children, and the mediator is there to make sure it is controlled and constructive. You are not obliged to agree to anything unless you want to and the meetings are confidential. As a mediator, I am bound to recommend this option to you but I have seen it work in so many similar cases to yours and it is the cheapest. You can still get Legal Aid for mediation too if your income and capital is low enough so its worth finding out about. Your last option is going to Court but there are various difficulties with this option. First of all, you need to decide if you are representing yourself or using a Solicitor which will cost you money. You could try to find a Solicitor who offers a free first consultation to see what they think. The other difficulty with going to Court is that the decision is taken out of your hands and a Judge tells you what to do - they don't like issuing orders in family cases because they often don't work without the parties communicating.

Parents are often tempted to stop contact when communication is really bad - the trouble is this does nothing to improve things and often makes it worse.

Good luck.

Jackie Norton

Mediator

A.

Hi, I need some advice on what is seen reasonable when my children are visiting their father and how much notice I should have for visits and details when they go to stay with him and his family. He refuses to give me flight details (they go to N. Ireland), changes  his mind what time to be at the airport with as little as an hour's notice and doesn't answer his phone to me when they are a way. They stay for more than a week. He gives me as little as a day's notice when he is going to visit for the weekend and I have always agreed as I want them to have a relationship. This is very unsettling for my daughters as he asks them to lie to me, they are only 2 & 4, when do I say enough is enough? He refuses to see what is best for them. Help please.

Q.

I need a bit of advice on how i can see my daughter through mediation coz the babys mothers keep stopping her see me when have her overnights and through the day shes now 8months old.

A.

Hi, the mediation would help you to communicate and negotiate with your child's mum so that you can set up some arrangements which hopefully suit you both. If you have a look on the national website for family mediation www.nfm.org.uk this will enable you to put in your postcode and find your nearest mediation service. When you contact them, they will take details and contact the mother too, hopefully setting up a meeting for you both with a mediator.

I hope this helps

Best wishes

Jackie

Q.

I seperated from my partner 4 years ago and had a good relationship with my daughter until I met my new partner 3 years ago. Since then I have had little contact with my daughter who is 9 years old and since our baby girl has arrived and we are getting married next Aug I have had no contact for over 5 months. I can't afford court and she is refusing mediation and I am at my wits end. What help is there for me out there as my 9 year old daughter is not having a relationship with me and being completely brainwashed. I have contact the school, social services and the police due to being told by her mother she will ring the police and get me done for harassment if I call again and I am getting nowhere please advice me what to do.

A.

Hi Steve, it sounds as though you need some legal advice but that will cost you. When you say she is refusing mediation, is that her saying no to your suggestion? If you haven't tried it yet, I would contact your nearest mediation service and let them contact her, then she knows you are serious and not going to go away. As you need to see a mediator before putting any application into court anyway, I think that's your next move. If the mediation service cant persuade her to try it, then you really have no other option but Court. The Court fees themselves are fairly reasonable, it's the cost of the Solicitor to represent you that pushes the cost up. You could go along to the County Court office yourself and ask how much it is, you could make the application yourself and do the whole thing without a Solicitor. To find your nearest mediation service or more information about the above, have a look at the National Family Mediation website. I hope that helps.

Good luck.

Q.

Hi Me and my partner have split up and she has been very unreasonable about when and when I cant see my little girl who is 4. At present she has stopped all contact and I am not even allowed to phone my little girl. I have done nothing wrong and have never put my daughter at risk. I have not been in trouble with the police nor do i have drink or drug problems. In fact I actually have full custody of my 2 sons from a previous relationship. My little girls mum is very stubburn on will not listen to reason. I got a letter last week to say that she had contacted family mediation and that they could help resolve these issues after my he had contacted them. I was going to call them this week but my ex parter text me to say that she has already advised mediation that all she will
agree to is seeing my little girl in a contact centre. This is really unfair and makes me feel as though i am a criminal. I dont see the point of going to mediation as she has already made her mind up and beleive me she wont change no matter what anyone says. I feel my best option is to apply straight to the courts for a contact order as she has made it clear that all she is prepared to offer is contact centre. Do you have any further advise on this, all I want to do is see my little girl, I got some  legal advise and they told me to record everytime I call my little girl  and there is no answer, would this help me in court ?

A.

Hello, you sound very frustrated and I understand why, especially if you've done nothing wrong. I can't give you legal advice but I can tell you a Court would look at this from your daughter's point of view. She is the one with the right to have a good relationship with both her parents. So currently she is missing out. Yes you could apply to Court for a Contact Order and they might or might not give you what you want. They will expect you to have had a meeting with a mediator by yourself to consider mediation so you would be wise to contact them first. You don't have to agree to mediation with your ex. The Courts want people to try mediation nowadays because it can deal with unfairness and have longer discussions than the Court has time for. Its also much quicker and cheaper. hopefully it won't be too long now before contact is resumed. Good luck

Jackie

Q.

Hi just wondering if you can help I split with my partner few months back and since he won't commit to regular access I offered every other weekend ( witch suited last time we parted) he will not commit to regular visits and its going 3/4 weeks between him seeing my daughter who is 3 there is no stability and its upsetting and unsettling he works 6 days a week so how will this ever be resolved????? Help!!!!!

A.

"It is often very unsettled in the months following separation and I can see you are concerned your daughter is unsettled too. This kind of situation is very commonly dealt with in mediation so I would suggest you have a look at the National Family Mediation website - there is lots of information on there which you might find helpful and you can find out where your nearest mediation service is. If you call the service and asked to be referred, they should be able to tell you if it will cost you anything and what you need to do. If you go ahead with this, you and your ex-partner will be helped to negotiate a plan of contact which you both feel will suit you and your daughter. It is important at her age that there is consistency and the beauty of a mediated agreement is that you can alter it as your daughter grows up. Hopefully this would help the situation to settle down for everyone. If you cannot get on the website, please ring National Family Mediation on 0300 4000 636 and they will be able to refer you to your nearest service. Hope that helps."

Kind regards

Jackie

Q.

hi jackie, can the father of my children go to mediation by himself
10 months after our first mediation was completed and conduct a parent plan
by himself whitch state he has 100% care as the matter is now going to
court. our origonal aggreemnet was i hjave the kids for 2 weeks and he has
them for 1. i was due to pick my kids up on thursday? still withholding my
babies and im not coping? is thee any law or could anything worsen if i pick
the kids up from my mums house when she is having them over for a play this
weekend sometime? i have not beenissued or served any paperwork? no court
order is in place yet

A.

Hi, mediation can only happen with both parties being present so nobody can get a parenting plan without the other. If your arrangements are not working and you have no court orders, perhaps you should suggest both of you going back to mediation. Otherwise you might need some legal advice.


Good luck

Q.

im really confused as to my rights heres the story... me and my ex
(father of my 3 year old son) split 18 months ago and he moved back in with
his mum who lives a 45 min drive away from my home my son was going to stay
there with his dad every fri-sun i now want to stop this because his new
partner whom he met on the net has been having regular contact with my son
and cuddling him etc after we agreed she could have contact with him every
other weekend as to ensure my son can have one on one time with his father i
now know shes been having contact every week the father says it does not
affect his time with my son but his oh has 2 kids herself and i believe my
son should get his own time with his father hes also been taking my son to
stay over at her house which im furious about as my son has come back and
told me and said hes been told hes not allowed to tell me and our
arrangement was that he would just stay at his house (well his mums) when
there, he works mon-fri but sees his oh every night so theres no excuse he
cant just have one on one time, i have now told him im stopping him having
our son overnight as i never know where he is who hes with or where hes
stayng i have not stopped contact though as i have said he can come see his
son anytime and rather than setting up an arrangement with me he is now
taking me through mediation, do i have rights to now stop overnight stays
which have always been a problem for me anyway as he lives so far away and i
do not drive or have transport so if anything happened to my son i wouldnt
be able to get down there anyway.

A.

Hi, it is really hard when a new partner is involved. It appears that there needs to be much better communication between mum and dad otherwise your child will be caught in the middle. A court would not listen to any of this, they will just fix the contact and say get on with it. Mediation will give you the best chance to have your say but you need to listen to each other.
Hope that helps

Jackie

Q. Where can i go to get some help to decide how often my ex should
have his daughter?? He hasn't had her over night in 2 and half years since
we split, He has had her every sunday and most tuesday evenings but he has
now saying he want her overnight which i have no problem with but i want
things in black and white! He only ever pays me £50 every 3-4 months
(whenever he feels like it. I dont want her to stay over at his a couple of
nights a week, I would like him to have her alt weekends, How do i go about
this and where can i go for help as he's very bossy and pushy
A. Hi. Sorry for the delay as I have been away. There are three options open to you here. 1.If you want advice and would like a legally binding agreement, you have to go to Court (either with or without the help of a Solicitor. If this is what you want, I would advise you to see a Solicitor anyway to discuss the process and get some legal advice. 2. You could approach a family mediation service as a way of reaching an agreement with the help of a mediator. To find your nearest one, go to the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk . 3. You could try sitting down with your ex and discussing it yourselves (your comment about him being bossy and pushy might put you off this idea).
Good luck
Jackie
Q. Where can i go to get some help to decide how often my ex should
have his daughter?? He hasn't had her over night in 2 and half years since
we split, He has had her every sunday and most tuesday evenings but he has
now saying he want her overnight which i have no problem with but i want
things in black and white! He only ever pays me £50 every 3-4 months
(whenever he feels like it. I dont want her to stay over at his a couple of
nights a week, I would like him to have her alt weekends, How do i go about
this and where can i go for help as he's very bossy and pushy
A. This sounds like something which could be brought to mediation provided your ex will go too. To find out more, go to the National Family Mediation website and find your nearest service to talk it through with.
Good luck
Jackie
Q. My ex is stopping me seeing my 6 month old son on grounds of,she says he comes back with cuts and bruises on him (he does not obviously as I have told her to take him to hospital and report me to the social services if she has concerns and she has not done)that he is allergic to my cat as he has bacterial conjunctivitis that he is always unwell and does not sleep when he goes back,even though he only wakes twice when he is with me. The way I am to her when I pick him up,the silly lists go on and on with her and every time I take him back I'm on pins to see what reasons she will give next not to allow me.It even got to the stage of her dictating times and dates.She has a history of this as she has four kids with two different dads and neither of them see their kids and its all her doing as I have actually seen txts on one of her exes phone from 2009 doing exactly what she is doing to me.Her ex kept them to show his son when he is old enough to prove he tried as hard as he could to see him.Shewill not listen to any reasoning whatsoever.
A. I would like to suggest mediation as a way of finding out what is at the root of all this. There may be a very simple solution. If that doesn't work, you can always apply to court for a contact order but legal advice would be a good idea at that point.
Hope you get sorted
Jackie
Q. Hi, I went to mediation following separation. I have two children 5 and 7 year old. I left the house and everything I owned when told I was no longer wanted and moved in a 1 bedroom flat. Mediator thought best to limit visiting times due to changes (I started my transition from male to female after separation). Also agreed financial terms. My ex remarried recently and this man has lived in my house since mid march. However, mediator's report never made it to court to be finalized as I made changes on the solicitor's report by mistake and never received the next form despite my ex wife telling me it was sent. Is the agreement made in mediation seen as a verbal contract? What can I do to get my share of the equity on the house (I am aware I need 2 or 3 bedroom flat but can't afford on my low wage)? My ex wife claims she doesn't have to give me any money until my youngest child is 18! Is this true? I would be grateful if you could help. Many thanks Tia
A. Hi, you would have been given information at the beginning about any agreement made in mediation not being legally binding whether verbal or in writing. If you are now wanting changes, it will depend how far in the legal system it has got. If it has been finalised in a consent order, then you must have signed up agreeing the content. If it hasn't got that far, you can propose changes. Your solicitor should be advising you on this, so I suggest you talk to them as soon as possible.
Good luck
Jackie
Q. my ex hasnt seen my 18 mnth old son for 3 months now and hasnt pais
any csa in over 6 months,after several failed attempts of me trying to
esablish fair and consistent contact visits i have now decided to cease any
contact between my ex and my son as it wasnt fair on my son, my ex isnt on
my sons birth certificate due to him being verbally abusive on the day i
regisered my son he doesnt work or claim benefits but is now threaening to
take me to court where do i go from here? and will he be able to get legal
aid?
A. Hi, this is a legal question so you need to speak to a lawyer. If you want help in coming up with an agreed contact pattern you could ring your nearest family mediation service.
Hope that helps
Q. What do we do when a mother is mentally ill and needs help, but social services can't or won't recognise it? My daughter in law has many mental issues and is continually drawing attention to herself by self
harming, 'crying wolf' in various situations such as she has been attacked and harmed when she clearly hasn't, etc. She needs these dramas in her life as she seems to think life must be like a 'soap opera'. The trouble is my little grandson is caught up in this and she is using him to hurt my son and me. I had to look after my grandson from age 3 mths to 18 mths because one such 'drama' resulted in social services taking the baby off
her. He lived with me and with the help of his 'daddy', my son, has become a lovely, intelligent little boy Now, social services have made him go back to the stranger who is his mother, and she has now moved 300 miles
away from us. My son went to mediation in Jan/Feb this year and my daughter in law told lie after lie to the mediator, saying she agreed the move would harm her child's relationship with his dad, that she had no support whatsoever up there, and finally agreed to moving somewhere within 25 mils of us, all the time she was making arrangements to move to Scotland. She told the court lies saying she would abide by the contact arrangements the judge set in place, but after only 3 contact weekends, she has said she cannot afford the petrol to drive to the drop off point, and she is moaning because it entails her getting up at 5am to get the baby to the drop off point at 8.30am, these arrangements are horrendous and not in the child's best interest at all, but they were my daughter in law's own proposals. Now she wants money from my son for fuel, and the next 'excuse' will be she will have no car as she can't afford to run one! It has become a nightmare, all because Social Services did not act in the child's best interest and allow him to remain with his loving daddy in our comfortable home. How is this right? How can Soc Servs justify placing a child at risk like this when he was safe and happy with us? We cannot trust anything my daughter in law says. She plots and schemes and seems to
have fantasies which she cannot differentiate from reality. She constantly needs attention and doesn't care who she harms in the process. I have tried talking to everyone, social workers, local councillors, MPs, NSPCC,
and all organisations I can find online, but no one can give me any answers. The law seems to be biased against men and dads. We have a phrase "The law seems to prefer a bad mother to a good father" and it is proving true. Why? I spoke to a lawyer last night, she said they all know how social services tell lies, fabricate data to discredit good parents, twist people's words and basically destroy innocent families but no one seems to
be doing anything to stop this. Why? What is the point of mediation, courts etc, when the mother knows how to play the system and knows that no matter how bad she is, she will win and fathers stand no chance. My little
grandson adores his daddy and I was his 'mother' for the first year of his life, he must be wondering why we have apparently abandoned him. It makes me cry every night. From Barbara
A. This sounds like a very desperate situation and one which feels hopeless. As I am sure you will be aware, I don’t have the power to change the law but there are changes afoot with the Family Justice Review. Does dad in this situation realise he is entitled to apply back to the Court, either to have the Contact order enforced or to apply for a Residence Order (maybe shared residence)? Legal advice would be essential here. Also grandparents can apply for contact too. This isn’t something I can advise on and would refer you to a mediator.

Good luck.

Jackie

Q. My child's dad seems to think the courts will work my daughter around his work rota? is this true? as we have tried to work it out ourselves but he is always a let down and the days she see him always changes. He seems to think by going through the courts they will work my daughter around him and his work is this true?
A. Hi, this lady could do with some legal advice as to what a Court would or would not take into consideration. Apart from that, I think there are two issues here. One is where a work rota exists and dad might only be available to have contact outside of this rota, so doesn’t have much choice – I think a Court would be sympathetic to that. The other issue is that mum is saying he lets the child down (I presume by cancelling contact etc) and the Court might not be so sympathetic about that because its not good for the child. If this were discussed in mediation, it would be a chance to properly discuss the effects on the child and look at ways of not letting her down, so that everyone is happy. A court would not be able to do that, so these circumstances seem very suitable to possible mediation. Please look on the National Family Mediation website to find a mediator near you to ring and find out about it.

Hope that helps

Jackie Norton

Q. HI ME & MY EX WENT TO SEE A MEDIATOR LAST YR REGARDING OUR SON, JUST WANTING TO KNOW WITH SOME OF THE POINTS WE DISCUSSED CAN THEY BE CHANGE? SURELY MEETING ARRANGEMENTS & SUCH LIKE CAN BE CHANGED? ONLY ASKING BECAUSE HE'S ALWAYS EXTREMELY LATE MAY SOUND PETTY BUT NOT WHEN MY PARTNER HAS TO GET COVER FOR WORK TILL WE GET BACK.

A. Hi, you can go back to mediation to discuss it with your ex or you can try to have the conversation with him yourself. Either way, you can change whatever you want as long as you agree.

Good luck

Jackie Norton
Q. can i ask the court for supervised visits for my daughter with her father he alrwady has overnight stays with her two days a week bt i do not believe that he spends time with her i believe that my daughters gran deals with her all the time my daughters dad has had contact with her since we split last november i only allowed him overnight stays as i was iin a state of depression and couldnt think straight now he has took me to court for a court order stating times and dates for his contact i have been thinkin about supervised visits for my peace of mind that he is spending time with his daughter for about 5 months now but i dont want to waste my time if it is not worth it
A. Hi unfortunately the court is unlikely to go back to supervised without a really good reason, ie if your daughter is not safe. I suggest you try talking to your ex. Its difficult because you can't make someone be more interested. You could try mediation to improve communication if he would be willing.
Good luck
Jackie Norton
Q. Hello Jackie, I am writing on behalf of my son - through shere desperation really. (As you can see I am writing and sending this at 1 30 AM because I can't sleep). He has parental responsibility by law and he
has been seperated from his ex partner for over a year now. His two children are living with her on a day to day basis but there has been no official recidency order filed or signed by either parties. Here is our
story (albeit VERY abbreviated with many details left out). We have had free advice from a solicitor but it seems to me that his parental responsibility is worthless and he has no rights at all other than he has
the right to take her to court at great expense. His ex partner gave up work and now receives benefits and gets legal aid. My son, on the other hand has to work to (and rightly so)pay CSA but he earns just above the
threshold so he cannot get legal aid and you know, I'm sure how expensive solicitors are - so his hands are tied. He has very little spare money. He has kept his home with his familys help and he has to pay for debts in both their names - that somehow by law she can walk away from! The law is very wrong on so many levels! Solicitor did advise that D start and instigate the mediation process and believed the access he has at present to his children is not enough.He suggested every other weekend plus day / tea time visits inbetween plus shared school holiday times /shared times over Xmas, birthdays etc. My son (refered to as D) has two children. D was recently refused access by ex partner to see his son on his birthday). His ex partner has a history of recorded and serious misdemeanours against her since their separation. Furthermore, Social services are involved due to
issues of neglect centered around the children's day to day care. Presently D sees his children every other weekend fri eve to mon eve. He also has taken the children on short breaks, Christmas periods and short
times on birthdays and has had them on other occasions on a had hoc basis. The situation now leaves us, as a family, at breaking point. Now it is even harder for D to see his children now and he cannot communicate with
heer at all. We are in need of some serious, good advice from someone who has a passion for the injustices served on fathers so that we can help D
get heard, get fair and balanced access to his children and allow him to have back some control over his life. Ultimately,given enough time we hope to have residency of the children. The law seems not to care he would make the better parent in this instance.Please, please if you are serious about helping fathers , advise us of, in your opinion, how we can begin to re address this imbalance and move forward in helping the children and D. There seems so little he is able to do and trying to read about family law is mind blowing. Please help and advice.
A. Hi, you are obviously very worried about your son and yes the system does work against you if you are not entitled to Legal Aid. For your information, the government is planning to abolish legal aid for family matters like these from April next year so your son’s ex-partner would not get access to legal aid either if it all goes through. You already know that a Solicitor would be able to give you legal advice, something I cannot do. As a mediator myself, I would encourage your son to try mediation. Although it does cost, if you go on the National Family Mediation website to find a mediator near you, these are mediators who work for charitable organisations, so would charge a fraction of the cost of a legal case through Court. The advantage of mediation is that it is balanced, so both parties take part in the decisions about their children and are encouraged to communicate, even when things have deteriorated. You also need to keep in touch with Social Services to make sure they know you can offer the children safety and security, should that be needed. I am sure they would be pleased to hear your son would be willing to try mediation. I hope you can all get these matters resolved soon for all your sakes.

Best wishes

Jackie Norton
Q. hi i have been separated from my partner for 3 months now. In this time i have my son 3 times a week including one overnight stay. This is ideal for everyone. However she has recently threatened to stop my access over trivial arguments and so i have asked her to come to a mediator and get our arrangement in writing so she can no longer do this. she has now agreed to let me see my son on the condition we don't put anything in writing. obviously i want our arrangement to be official as she will defiantly try this again. but i don't want to risk not see my son
in the mean time. any advice will be much appreciated. Many thanks kevin
A. I would suggest you try mediation so that you can get an agreement which is understood by both parties and hopefully meets all the family’s needs. That way, she is less likely to go back on it.

Agreements in writing – the only agreement in writing either of you are not allowed to go back on would be a Court Order which is legally binding. Agreements made in mediation or via Solicitors are not legally binding.

As I said at the beginning, if you can resolve differences in mediation, that would be the best opportunity to protect your continuing contact with your son. Your son will be the main focus and it sounds like this is what you want.

Good luck.

Kind regards

Jackie Norton

Q. Hi Jackie, My son's mum and I split up over three years ago. Early in our agreement I was told by his mum that I would have no contact time with him. It started with him staying at my home from a Friday
through to a Sunday evening. But our time together has reduced to less than 24 hours (Friday from school to Saturday afternoon). I feel so closed
off from my son's life because his mum ignores my please that our new partners should be working as a team for our wee one. I have suggested mediation services to his mum several times but she seems to think we don't need it. His mum and I have no relationship and it is difficult to talk. I suggested a few times that we meet for a coffee to talk but she is always too busy. Any advice you have would be to welcome ears. Thanks
A. Hi, it cant do any harm to carry on doing what you’re doing. If you can find some local information about mediation so that you could pass on their leaflet to her, that might work better. If you could get a mediation going, it would not include new partners to start with but it could be a possibility later if everyone is in agreement. You don’t say how old your son is, but could it be possible that he comes to you for tea one night after school so you can build a more regular pattern – I don’t know if that’s practical? Would mum be open to those kind of suggestions? I don’t recommend going to Court because it is a long and difficult process and can make things worse, but it might be wise to get some legal advice if you haven’t already. Your approach so far is the right one but I realise its very frustrating if you are not making progress.

I hope that helps

Kind regards

Jackie
Q. Hi there I am a single mum who has been seperated and divorced for 3 years from my childrens father. In the divorce we arranged a statement of arrangements for the children and had agreed privatley to keep to an agreement of contact. Over the 3 years he has not kept to the agreement and after stopping my children from seeing him after being let down and after bad situations and care I have now been advised by my social worker that he has gone ahead with a solicitor for full custody Please could you help me with some advice on what I can do and my rights with regards to stopping it going forward. I believe after threats to keep the children that mediation and agreeing to him seeing the children again will mean he will not let me have them back and as I understand it by advice from the police unless there is a custody order in place he has the right to keep them and I would need to go to court to get them back. Please help me with some good advice as I am a single mum on low income
A. I would say to this lady that she needs some legal advice. If her income is sufficiently low, she may be entitled to legal aid and can certainly find this out by visiting a Solicitor who offers legal aid and I would recommend she also looks for one who is a member of Resolution. There are some misunderstandings here. Custody does not exist any more. So, if her ex has made an application to Court, it will be either for Contact or for Residence. He will be expected to meet a mediator and consider mediation which is when this mum will also be invited to mediation. Neither is obliged to do it, but it would be a safe way of working out her options. She doesn’t have to meet up with him if she doesn’t want to. Or she can wait for a Court hearing and let a Judge decide. Either way, she can wait to see what happens but I would recommend she obtains some legal advice about what to do if dad tries to keep the kids with him.

This kind of scenario is very common in mediation and can be very quickly resolved – much quicker than Court.

Hope that helps

Jackie Norton


Q. Hi,I am Tony and have been legally divorced now for over 2 years. I have 2 daughters my youngest just turned 17 and I pay maintainance for her to my ex. I haven't had any contact with both daughters for over 2 years, although they are in regular contact with my parents. I have had no contact either with my ex since the decree absolute. As I have no contact with my daughters or their mum and likely to have none in the future although I have tried writing several times, how do I make sure the money
I give my ex is being used properly for the welfare of my youngest, there is now hard evidence my daughters are in poverty, but some of the comments passed to me by my caring parents have raised a concern. I am keen to support my daughters in the rest of their life but feel they have turned against me since the divorce. I was the one to leave the marital home as it was the easiest option to manage somewhere else to live, I feel
completely shut out of both my daughters life.!
A. Hi, here's my reply.

Its very sad u have lost contact. If you have worries about your childrens welfare you should contact your local authority or solicitor. As they are almost adults now you could try to contact them direct. Good luck.

Jackie
Q. Hi, my ex and i have a two year old daughter, and we had a routine where i'd have her at weekends and then a morning or afternoon in the week, and this was quite a friendly agreement, but now i have a new girlfriend my ex is demanding supervised visits and no overnight stays, even though there aren't any threats to my childs welfare and also my ex has a new bloke and i am not demanding this from her. Is she within her
rights to do this and what are my rights?
A. This is a very common problem once new partners come on the scene and is often not based on logic but on an emotional response. If you can talk about it between you so that you can find out what your ex’s concerns are, that would be the easiest solution. Perhaps she would like to meet your new partner and in the interests of fairness, perhaps you would like to meet her new partner too? Perhaps you need an agreement that your daughter will not be left with new partners unless the ex is okay with that on both sides. All of this will depend on how able you are to have a conversation about this. In terms of your rights, you would need to consult a solicitor to establish your legal rights but this can sometimes exacerbate the situation if letters start to go back and forth. Perhaps call your nearest mediation service to get an appointment to see a mediator and see what other options you may have if the attempt to talk doesn’t work.

Kind regards

Jackie Norton


Q. Hello, I have recently split from my partner and it currently is not amicable. Apparently she has been to a solicitor and they have advised to draw up a rota between ourselves. Which she has advised wednesdays and sundays. Should I get this in writing would it stand up in court as I have not signed anyhting to agree this
A. The Solicitor is helpfully advising that you set up a rota so that both parties and the children know when contact is going to take place. That’s usually a good thing, especially whilst communication is difficult or not happening. This is not an agreement which is legally binding so is not set in stone. The only contact agreement which is legally binding is a contact order produced by the Court and decided by the Judge. Whilst its not set in stone, this means there is room for negotiation at a stage where you feel more able to have that conversation. Mediation can help you with that. You could also get some legal advice if you are concerned. Hope that helps.

Kind regards

Jackie


Q. My children and their father have contact time every other weekend for two nights.Recently he has been lying to meet about where he is taking my children.Our children have met his girlfriend 6 times and he has been taking them into london to stay with her and her family. This has unsettled my children although they say they enjoy it when they are there. What are my rights? I just want to be informed.
A. Hi, This is really a legal question in terms of your rights. If there is a contact order which dictates where he can take them, then he is bound by that. I suspect there will not be one, so he can take them anywhere he likes. If you feel the children are in some way at risk of harm, you need to talk it over with children’s services for advice but are unlikely to intervene unless the risk is serious. If you want to try to improve communication with him so that there is no need for lies, of course I would suggest mediation. Then you can tell him that the children are unsettled as he may not know about this. You may want to ask a Solicitor for information on her legal rights.



Hope this helps.


Q. I am going through a divorce and am worried about what is going to happen to my finances.
A. Understanding your finances is a vital part of gaining, or regaining your financial freedom. While everyone's finances are different, the following list is a good place to begin if you find yourself needing to regain financial control.

- Revise your will / trust
Whether you have had a will or trust in place in the past, now is the time to meet with an estate-planning solicitor to draft one. This document allows you to determine who will inherit your hard earned assets, who will care for your children in the event of your death, and how your children will inherit the assets you have left to them.
It is important to establish these guidelines rather than leaving the decision up to the state. In addition, you should ask your solicitor about a medical directive. This important document appoints a trusted love one with the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

- Update your beneficiary designations
While you have taken the steps to update your Living Will or Trust, certain accounts require you to directly appoint a beneficiary. This includes your life insurance and retirement accounts.
Contact your life insurance company or broker, as well as the companies where your retirement accounts are held and request a change of beneficiary form. This form can usually be faxed in, no questions asked.

- Develop a budget
It is important to put together and follow a budget. Now that you are living off one income, instead of two, understanding what income is coming in, as well as what income is flowing out, will allow you to plan for expenses and ensure you are not overspending.

You may need to cut back or you may have more money to save! Either way, it is important to know for sure. During this process, it is also important to understand how you income is being taxed. For instance, child support is not taxable. Speak to a tax professional to help you determine what is and what is not taxable.

- Manage your credit cards
Have you pulled your credit lately? It is important to review your credit report to ensure that your ex-partner is no longer authorised on your cards. This is an important step for home and car loans as well.

- Develop a retirement plan
During divorce settlements, retirement assets are often split 50/50.This may or may not have worked in your favour. Either way, it is important to understand what you can expect, and what you need to plan for. A Certified Financial Planner can assist you in forecasting your retirement need, developing a savings plan, and determining which investments are right for you.

- Reassess your health insurance needs
It is important to be sure that your health insurance is sufficient to cover your needs, but isn’t too expensive. If it is through your work, don’t forget to remove your ex from the plan.

If you were previously on your spouses / partners plan, you do not need to wait until open enrollment to sign up at your company. Just make sure you act quickly. Most insurance companies consider divorce a "qualifying event" or "life event" and allow thirty days to change your plan accordingly.

- Ensure you have adequate Life Insurance
In order to be sure your children are well provided for and your debts will not affect those you love, having adequate life insurance coverage is important. I recommend using a life insurance calculator or speaking with a Certified Financial Planner to determine how much coverage you should purchase.

- Attend a mediation information session to learn about how mediation can assist you to save money
Solicitor's fees can be very expensive, but there are things that you can do to help keep your overall divorce more affordable. Some common sense and not so common sense things can have a dramatic impact on the amount of billable hours it takes to get your case resolved.

The biggest contributor to an expensive divorce is the extra time spent by your professionals doing what you could have done yourself. The best part is that a well prepared client is usually a lot easier to deal with and makes for a much more favourable outcome. Mediators help clients to reach joint decisions about the issues associated with their separation - children, finance and property. National Family Mediation has well established quality assurance standards. Our mediators are carefully selected and trained to a high standard nationally.

While everyone's situation is different, applying these steps will allow you to begin on the path to financial freedom. Understanding your current financial picture while setting goals for your future are important steps in starting your new life.