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WILL I ENJOY A FAMILY CHRISTMAS AGAIN? The break-up may be unavoidable but the way you separate and divorce could determine whether enjoyable times of the year, like Christmas, will be looked forward to again.

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new poll of the UK’s ‘Christmas stress factors’ finds that people in the South West, particularly divorced or separated couples, are bracing themselves for a stressful festive season. According to the research, one in three people in the region say they’re not looking forward to Christmas, rising to one in two amongst those who are divorced or separated. The data from the poll, published last month, assessed a range of festive stress factors and found that making family arrangements, a fear of loneliness and deciding where to spend Christmas are all causing “significant” concerns for many families in the region particularly divorced or separated couples, making the festive season difficult for them. It’s a season that puts real strains on couples. For those who find it all too much, face a broken relationship, are going through a separation, or are contemplating divorce, it can often be made significantly less stressful and more financially manageable, with an awareness of the ways that problems can be addressed following a break-up.

It is a season that puts, strains on couples

The key thing to remember is that - contrary to what some might think – the process of separation and divorce, whilst traumatic, doesn’t have to involve conflict, confrontation, or the courts. Whilst for some couples litigious court action will be unavoidable, for many others, an understanding of the available alternatives to court, can lead to the process being less traumatic, reduce conflict and importantly negate the impact on them and their families.

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There are a range of dispute resolution options to choose from that need no attendance at Court, help you to maintain control, leaves the decision making in your hands and holds out the prospect of reduced conflict, expense and time. They include: • Family mediation - where the mediator (a neutral professional third party) facilitates communication and helps couples to arrive at an agreement acceptable to all without offering legal advice or advocating for either party.

According to the ❝ research, one in three people in the region say they’re not looking forward to Christmas

Call us on 01225 448955 for an advice guide for couples going through separation or divorce published by Resolution or download it at: www.resolution.org.uk/separatingtogether

• Collaborative practice - where specially trained family lawyers and other professionals provide a safe environment in which positions are defused and goals developed. This enables couples to make informed decisions and work strictly towards settlement at their pace and without the threat of court intervention. • Constructive negotiation - where couples negotiate their proposals through lawyer's letters or "round the table” meetings, adjusting them on advice until an acceptable middle ground is reached. • Arbitration - where an arbitrator, after ensuring all the relevant facts are gathered together, takes into account a couple’s views on what they think should happen and gives a binding ruling or award. At Sharp Family Law, the largest niche firm of family solicitors in Bath, we will talk you through the options and help you decide on the one that holds out the best way for you to arrange your separation and divorce in the long-term interests of all family members, so that enjoyable times of the year, like Christmas, can be looked forward to, even after divorce.

Richard Sharp

sharp F A M I LY L A W Sharp Family Law: Helping clients to reach solutions 5, Gay Street, BATH, BA1 2PH, UK email: richard@sharpfamilylaw.com: m: 07798 606740 t: 01225 448955 website: www.sharpfamilylaw.com blog: www.familylawcollaborativedivorce.co.uk DECEMBER 2013

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THEBATHMAGAZINE 75

The Bath Magazine December 2013  

The Bath Magazine reaches more readers than any other printed media in the city, with in excess of 20,000 copies of glossy, high quality mag...

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