The head of a Harrogate law firm who launched a dedicated mediation service to provide local couples with an alternative to using the court system to resolve family break ups has been recognized by the Family Mediation Council.
Sarah Smith, managing director of Berwins Solicitors and co-founder of the firm’s Third View mediation service, has been certified by the family mediation council as an accredited specialist.
Mrs Smith said Third View, which offers commercial dispute resolution as well as family mediation, had played an important role in giving local families a different option when resolving conflict.
Since launching Third View we’ve found that there is a real need for support of this kind which helps families reach agreements at a very stressful and emotional time in their lives.
Going to court often aggravates the stress and pushes people further apart, which can drag things out and lead to higher legal costs.
Mrs Smith said the withdrawal of legal aid for the majority of family law cases had made it more important than ever for couples to try a different approach, adding that it had proved particularly effective for couples with children.
At the end of the day, parents still want to bring up their children together, even if they’re living apart, and if they can find a way to reach agreements and remain amicable this makes co-parenting after separation far easier.
Third View has helped many divorcing parents build a constructive future for their family, without a court imposing decisions on them, and research shows that mediation is often the best way for families to resolve conflicts.
I am delighted that the Family Mediation Council has recognised the expertise within our mediation practice and the value of the work we do with families in the local community.