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Blog Post No Fault Divorce

Blog Post 6th April 2022



The biggest shake up in family law in decades has occurred today 6th April 2022.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 reforms the divorce process to remove the concept of fault.

This has come into force today 6 April 2022.

From 6 April, the new law:

  1. Will replace the ‘five grounds’ and allows couples to divorce without fault
  2. Will removes contesting the divorce
  3. Allows a joint application
  4. Allows simple language changing ‘decree nisi’ to conditional order and ‘decree absolute’ to final order.

These changes also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships.

This can all be done online.

Personally, I am hoping these changes will have the following effect:

  1. Be simpler using modern and understandable language
  2. Reduce conflict between couples as there is no need to criticise each other in order to secure the divorce.

There are some pitfalls in this new era – for example it is important to check that finances such as Wills are in order prior to the final order to avoid unintended consequences.

Overall, however moving on to a new era of modern divorce will enable couples to focus on the important issues such as children or finances rather than the unkind “mud-slinging “that has gone before .





Blog Post 5th January 2022


Happy New Year and if you are reading this well done – there are tips for resolving your family issues and some helpful resources here.

Many of our clients have benefitted from a recent  government initiative to pay for joint family mediation.

A £500 voucher is available for a joint mediation meeting in family cases where children arrangements are in dispute. Even if finances are also discussed.

Vouchers are still available, and the Family Mediation Council have released some interesting data.

Early data which has been gathered through the scheme shows of 1579 cases the success rates for mediation are overwhelming :  

Success Rates

77% Whole or partial agreement

23% No agreement

72% of cases that go to mediation under the scheme do not go to court at all

9% go to court with narrowed issues

19% go to court not having settled any issues in mediation

 This all goes to show that you are in the right place to resolve your issues. Great start to the new Year!




Blog Post 3rd November  2021


Parenting through separation booklet 

This is a valuable resource from Resolution which you may wish to read about Parenting through separation




Blog Post 29th October 2021

Telling your children about separating

In telling your child or children you are separating so many questions can spring to mind.  How to go about this?  If you are asking yourself these questions well done. You are considering the effect on your children of how to manage a difficult situation .

  • When?
  • Where?
  • Who is present for the conversation?
  • What time of day?

There is no “best” way of doing this.   I recommend explaining in a planned child age-appropriate way.  Avoid shock dramatic exits or mixed messages from each parent.  The chances are your child or children will have picked up there is a problem anyway so some careful thought and consideration can lead to a useful conversation which may bring about reassurance.

This is really useful short video   you might wish to see.


Blog post 22nd October 2021.



Top Tips for parents who are separated

 The FJYPB members are children and young people with experience of family law proceedings. They have devised these top tips for parents to help them think about matters from their child’s perspective. Are you interested in trying to see your situation from a child's perspective ? Then read on.
This is the link and these are the top 10.​
1 •Remember I have the right to see both of my parents as long as it is safe for me. 
2•I can have a relationship with the partner of my other parent without this changing my  love for you. 
3•.Try to have good communication with my other parent because it will help me. Speak to them nicely.
4 •Keep my other parent updated about my needs and what is happening for me. I might  need their help too. 
5•Don’t say bad things about my other parent, especially if I can hear. Remember I can  often overhear your conversations or see your social media comments. 
6 •Remember it is ok for me to love and have a relationship with my other parent. 
7 •Don’t make me feel guilty about spending time with my other parent. 
8•Don’t make permanent decisions about my life based on how you feel at the moment.  Think about how I feel now and how I might feel in the future. My wishes might change. 
9 •Be open to change, be flexible and compromise when agreeing arrangements for me. 
10• Its ok with me if my parents don’t do things exactly the same.

30th June 2021


No fault divorce is usually the preferred option of most couples who want to divorce but at the moment its not available unless you wait for 2 or 5 years of separation.


The  Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is now expected to come into effect on 6th April 2022.


This is a long overdue legal programme whereby there is no longer a need to “blame “each person during the divorce process or wait to separate.  Irretrievable breakdown is expected to be the sole ground for divorce with just  a statement confirming irretrievable breakdown and no evidence .

It is expected there will be an overall notice period of 26 weeks and it is hoped it  will be possible for the parties to make a joint application, so that one person does not have to petition the other. 


Watch this space



13th April 2021


Reducing parental conflict 

Seeing things differently are a series of videos which I recocomend any one trying to avoid parental conflict

Good Things Foundation and One Plus One have been working in partnership to produce short videos to help people learn new ways of managing conflict. Making just a few changes could lead to healthier and happier outcomes for everyone in the family.


Skills like ‘Staying calm’, ‘Speaking for yourself’ and ‘Re-thinking how you say things’ can change how things play out in your household and let you, your family and your children see it differently.

I thought Chloe’s story was a really accurate exchange about a childs haircut and the involvement of a new girlfriend and arranging a sleep over without the other parent knowing . These are really typical sources of conflict.



8th February 2021


Private law cases still increasing.

Statistics have been released showing how many children of separating families are involved in the court cases relating to child arrangements applications.

This has increased in recent years.

The number  of children in 2007-2008

50,000 children were involved in private law court orders . in 2019-2020.

That figure has grown to 65,500 (Identified by the Nuffield family justice observatory).

The use of the mediation process is a genuine alternative to the court process and having decsions imposed upon you and your family.  






4 th February 2021


Pensions on divorce 

It may be a bit boring but pensions in divorce are a subject which it is crucial to understand . There is really no substitute for professional advice .

To cover a few recent pension topics this is a useful video produced by a financial advisor and lawyer which you might like to watch

The Advice Now free survival guide to pensions on divorce is also well worth a read.

Advice Now Survival Guide to pensions on divorce


Blog 31 st Janury 2021


Advice now 

I hope that on your google searches you may have come across the Advice now  website .
This charity has created some really useful guides which might help you.
This includes :
-A survival guide to Divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership
-Child Arrangements - What worked for us 
-A survival guide to living together and breaking up.
There are many more and all of these are free and such useful resources to give information on each of these issues.






Blog 22nd December 2020

How to negotiate the Holidays 

As we come to the end of the winter term and the holidays are  upon us the issues of time spent with family and in particular seeing  children can become a source of dispute .

Every year we are contacted by a client who needs a resolution of times and arrangements when it is so close to the holidays as to be very tricky to navigate a solution .

If at all possible try to follow these suggestions :-

1. Discuss proposals for holidays well in advance . It's understandable that not every fine detail is known but a broad structure for dates , times and locations  are worth advance planning and more importantly will avoid conflict .

2. Gifts are also worth discussing well in advance . Try to agree a set budget and share the cost of those expensive gifts especially technology such as phones .

3. Consider extended family Grandmas and Grandpas . Where will they fit in to your plans ?

4. Communicate throughout . Whether you use text , phone or email keep communicating . Information sharing apps such as our family wizard can really help with this .

Best wishes to all our clients and a happy and healthy 2021








Blog 9th November 2020


Getting Kids to Listen – Free workshop

I came across a post by Amanda Rueter about how to avoid screaming at your kids on linked in. I followed the free link and watched the post. It was all about "counter will" Counter will is a name for the instinctive reaction of a child to resist being controlled. The webinar suggested alternatives to screaming at a child  such as working "as a team" cooperatively and inviting your child to share decision making about rules and regulations. This guidance is useful for mums and dads alike and in my opinion is worth a watch.

I found the link at:


In Amanda Reuters words.....


“Hey there...


I remember the time I completely lost my anger on my RAGE filled anger.

I was pretty sure I was the worst mother on the face of this earth.  The guilt was crushing.

That was the moment I knew something had to change, so I created a plan to stop the yelling.

I was pretty sure I would never be successful at it - my anger felt so out of control back then.

And for the first few months, I really struggled.

Instead of outright yelling, I'd get in their little faces and whisper scream at them.  It wasn't  "yelling" but I was still most certainly taking out my anger on my kids.

I slipped up time and time again.

But eventually, I was able to put the pieces of a plan together and soon I noticed that I was yelling less and less.

Surprisingly, my kid's behaviour wasn't the main reason why I was yelling at I thought it was.

There was so much more going many mistakes I was making...and so many changes within ME that needed to happen.

I'm so excited to share more about this plan and how it can not only help you stop yelling, but also get your kids to listen to you!

And I’m so excited to share it all with you through a free work shop at

Now, years later, I have continued to practice and improve my skills.

I’ve also taught many others how to do the same!

In the workshop, you'll meet Erica, Kim, and Audra, who've all made HUGE changes in their families following this simple plan.

I want you to know that I understand how it feels to lose it on your kids. And it’s totally possible to parent your kids without yelling.

I show you exactly how to do it at our workshop, which you can watch right now.






Blog 2nd November 2020

Online mediation 

As we head back into a second lock down the thought is not exactly positive however so much has changed since March 2020.

All Advantage Mediation cases are now online so no last-minute steps to rearrange important client meetings.

It is business as usual for the online process. 

Most people have accepted that this is a viable alternative and fortunately have the technology and willingness to work with an online environment .

With many clients working from home still as well the Online mediation process is a genuine option to resolve important issues now.

Keeping schools open this time means that some normal life can be maintained for children.

The court buildings are not going to be closed this time around but the terrible back log of cases continues to build up.  This means that alternatives to the court process become even more crucial. 

This lockdown hopefully seems more manageable and not so unknown.  It is to be hoped this  will help us all to manage the next month or so with some sense of calm.

As before the children of separated parents can move between their households so,the new rules should  not affect the continuation  of child arrangements. 

Blog post 2nd September 2020


Back to school and office.


Today I attended an interesting webinar arranged by Mills and Reeve which included discussions of school transitions during a pandemic

Generally, it is understood that for some a time of transition can be exciting. Times of transition can also be difficult, worrying and make you anxious. 


Changes can include divorce and separation, going back to school after a pandemic and going off to school for the first time or returning to the office.


Many Primary and secondary schools return this week. Many adults are also going back to work after the summer break or a period of working from home.


Amidst a pandemic with many changes in how work environment or school lessons will be delivered, mixing with other colleagues and students and wearing face masks.  We recognise that the uncertainty of all of this is a challenge. 


It was discussed that parents are encouraged to listen to their children and to model adaptable behaviour. 


To share the journey with their children and listen to them. 


A tip was given that parents try not to presume what their children are feeling but to share their feelings by way of discussion.


In a similar way adult need to be aware of their feelings about the changes to the old traditional ways and the effect of unexpected changes may have on their mental health. 


A simple trip to B and Q is no longer straightforward.


Some practical tips for back to school/office. 

  • Where are school shoes and backpack, and for adults laptop and phone charger? Find essential items in good time.
  • Try to organise packed lunch or snacks the night before.
  • For older children download their timetable and ensure they have a copy.
  • Check bus routes/train times in early course. These have also changed with requirements for face masks etc also coming in.

At this difficult time try as far as possible to a communicate with others. 


Separated parents are encouraged Put your children at the centre of the communication process. “Park up your differences.”


Try to show patience kindness and respect to others.


Good luck to all those returning to school or working in the office  this week.






















Parenting styles - attachment 

Parenting a child is difficult at the best of times. I think we can all agree that these are not really the best of times and separation often adds an extra pressure.

I found this podcast by Una Archer registered circle of security parenting facilitator really interesting .  I do think the principles are universally applicable.

video link here :

If you wish to know more about the circle of security more information is here .





Blog Post 20th May 2020



Webinar online video Family Mediation 11th May 2020


I enjoyed chairing a panel of distinguished mediators in discussing the process of online video family mediation.

For most people this means video meetings which use either Zoom, skype or teams.

Generally, those who use this find it great to encourage discssion ,share documents on screen and focus minds. Experts such as financial advisors and accountants can dial in to the meeting, so they do not have to be paid to travel.

Lawyers can also be involved and use separate rooms (in zoom)

It is generally felt that the meetings are quite intense, staring at a screen, and so meetings can be shorter or with plenty of breaks. Downsides can be not having enough bandwidth for both devices to be used in one household or concerns about safeguarding which mean that mediating remotely is not suitable.

Being able to do online mediation hopefully improves inclusivity for this process..

For example for those with young children or other home commitments , those with a disability or those living abroad or – as now – when families are compelled to say at home – 

We had 162 attendees for the webinar and a lively discussion.






Blog post 7th May 2020


Our Family Wizard 

A potentially useful tool for shared parenting.


OurFamilyWizard. App


James Evans gave an interesting presentation on 7th May 2020.


The idea is to make shared parenting communication  simplified.

  • Manage schedules,
  • Track expenses,
  • Share files,
  • Send secure messages
  • Securely store important child medical and other  information .
  • Grant access to experts working with your family, e.g. counsellor, parenting coordinator ,

This could be of even greater use for shared parenting during a crisis.

The link is here





Blog post 27th April 2020

Nuffield Foundation Advice

Set out below is an article written by Clive Manning  the Nuffield Foundation regarding the use of digital technology in miantining parental or extended family contact via technology. Hopefully this will be hlepful to find creative solutions. Here is the link if you wish to read the original.

7 questions to ask when using digital technology

to help maintainfamily contact -

27th Mar 2020

Social distancing throws up obvious challenges in ensuring ongoing face-to-face contact between children and their extended families. Digital technology can play a role in maintaining vital relationships— but before employing a new platform, practitioners should ask themselves some key questions to ensure the experience is safe, accessible and appropriate, and that it offers the best experience for each family.

What is the simplest way?

It may not provide the same richness as face-to-face or live video chat but conference calling by phone offers a relatively quick, simple and inclusive way of maintaining family contact.

Various conference calling services are available. Calls to some, such as whypay? are included in bundled minutes deals from landlines and mobile phones (though each party would need to check this with their provider). WHYPAY? is currently also offering free moderation features and call recording for three months.

Using a conference calling system means that other participants don’t need to know each other’s numbers.

Is it age-appropriate?

In the UK, only children aged 13 or over are able to give their own consent to the online processing of their data. This means that most social media platforms—Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram— have a minimum age requirement of 13. In the UK, WhatsApp users have to be 16 or over to use the service.

Who can contact who?

In WhatsApp chats, participants’ phone numbers are shared. On other platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, you have to register, and your username/profile is shared. Anyone with these IDs is able to make contact at any time, or share those details with others.

Many video services, for example Zoomand Whereby, now allow participants to join via a link without registering. This means that participants do not automatically share any contact details. However, it may be possible for those who have the link to share it and invite others into the same call.

What additional features are there?

Many platforms include additional features alongside video calls such as chat, live subtitles, screen sharing and recording. While these can be useful, sometimes they can prove difficult to moderate and manage safely. For example, in WhatsApp, users can share real-time location information.

Is the free version suitable?

Free-to-use services are likely to be paid for by advertising, or the sharing of customer data

 Paid-for services do not usually include advertising, and may allow better management of users and features that could help make contact safer. For example, Zoom Pro allows you to switch features on and off, and you can track what meetings are taking place across a whole organisation.

What’s in the background?

As call participants are likely to be in their own homes, it is important to set some basic ground rules in order to manage background noise and views. Digital tools may also help. For example, Skype lets you blur the backgroundand Zoom allows you to change it completely.

What behaviours are you introducing?

Using digital to support contact has lots of advantages. However, it may be that you are introducing a new tool or encouraging behaviour that may have a risk in a different context. Live video chat may be safely managed during organised contact for example—but it is helpful to remind children that is not the same for all video chats, and that these tools can be used for less good reasons, including exploitation.

It is also worth considering how digital contact will be sustained and integrated into wider organisational management systems and processes.

Parent Zone provides free resources, guides and ideas for professionals on supporting young people and all kinds of families in a connected world.

Other links

Digital Candle - One free hour of expert digital advice for charities

Internet Matters - What age can my child start social networking?

Learn My Way - A simple guide to using video calling

London CLC – Remote learning

NSPCC - Guide to social networks, apps and games

Parent Info - Help and advice for families in a digital world

Safer Internet Centre - Age restrictions on social media services

SWGfL - Safe remote learning for schools

Tes - Simplified terms and conditions for social media platforms


Author: Cliff Manning set up the digital youth participation network 


Blog post Child Arrangements affected by lock down

Apr 11, 2020

On 24 March, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, provided additional advice on compliance with Family Court Child arrangements Orders .


  1. Parents must abide by the ‘Rules on Staying at Home and Away from Others’ issued by the government on 23 March [‘the Stay at Home Rules’]. In addition to these Rules, advice about staying safe and reducing the spread of infection has been issued and updated by Public Health England and Public Health Wales [‘PHE/PHW’].
  2. The Stay at Home Rules have made the general position clear: it is no longer permitted for a person, and this would include a child, to be outside their home for any purpose other than essential shopping, daily exercise, medical need or attending essential work.
  3. Government guidance issued alongside the Stay at Home Rules on 23rd March deals specifically with child contact arrangements. It says:
    “Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.”
    This establishes an exception to the mandatory ‘stay at home’ requirement; it does not, however, mean that children must be moved between homes. The decision whether a child is to move between parental homes is for the child’s parents to make after a sensible assessment of the circumstances, including the child’s present health, the risk of infection and the presence of any recognised vulnerable individuals in one household or the other.
  4. More generally, the best way to deal with these difficult times will be for parents to communicate with one another about their worries, and what they think would be a good, practical solution. Many people are very worried about Coronavirus and the health of themselves, their children and their extended family. Even if some parents think it is safe for contact to take place, it might be entirely reasonable for the other parent to be genuinely worried about this.
  5. Where parents, acting in agreement, exercise their parental responsibility to conclude that the arrangements set out in a CAO should be temporarily varied they are free to do so. It would be sensible for each parent to record such an agreement in a note, email or text message sent to each other.
  6. Where parents do not agree to vary the arrangements set out in a CAO, but one parent is sufficiently concerned that complying with the CAO arrangements would be against current PHE/PHW advice, then that parent may exercise their parental responsibility and vary the arrangement to one that they consider to be safe. If, after the event, the actions of a parent acting on their own in this way are questioned by the other parent in the Family Court, the court is likely to look to see whether each parent acted reasonably and sensibly in the light of the official advice and the Stay at Home Rules in place at that time, together with any specific evidence relating to the child or family.
  7. Where, either as a result of parental agreement or as a result of one parent on their own varying the arrangements, a child does not get to spend time with the other parent as set down in the CAO, the courts will expect alternative arrangements to be made to establish and maintain regular contact between the child and the other parent within the Stay at Home Rules, for example remotely – by Face-Time, WhatsApp Face-Time, Skype, Zoom or other video connection or, if that is not possible, by telephone.


Children Playing in the Park





Nuffield Centre advice

Our services in this area

Advantage Mediation offers family mediation and online family mediation to help work out arrangements for children. 

Do you have a question or want to make an appointment to discuss this area? you can email

Give us a call on 07843069381 07843069381 or use our contact form.

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