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
I hope that on your google searches you may have come across the Advice now website .
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.....
I remember the time
I completely lost my anger on my kids...like RAGE filled anger.
Blog 2nd November 2020
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.
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.
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.
Blog post 1st July 2020
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
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.
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
set up the digital youth participation network
On 24 March, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, provided additional advice on compliance with Family Court Child arrangements Orders .
Advantage Mediation offers family mediation and online family mediation to help work out arrangements for children.
Give us a call on 07843069381 07843069381 or use our contact form.