Sherborne Family Mediation and Collaborative Law

With all the bitterness involved in the often arduous divorce process it is not surprising that many people end up with divorce settlements that do not fully account for the needs. Your divorce settlement should recognise issues as important as your finances and contact arrangements for your children, so it is crucial that you make the right decisions.  Here at Bonallack & Bishop, we use family mediation and collaborative law to help you resolve the disputes arising from divorce expeditiously and in our experience, these routes prove more cost-effective and less acrimonious.


Separating couples in Sherborne who are willing to talk through the issues that arise during their divorce stand to reap great benefits from family mediation or collaborative law. Discussing matters calmly and in the presence of legal experts facilitates the creation of fair agreements for both parties. These dispute resolution methods are not appropriate to everyone though and couples who are not willing to cooperate with each other are unlikely to benefit.


Our dedicated family law team features 2 fully accredited collaborative lawyers and 3 family mediators who are also qualified lawyers. We therefore have all the expertise that separating couples in Sherborne need.

Call [01722] 422300 today to

• Receive FREE initial phone advice

• Arrange your FREE first appointment

Or alternatively, email


Shaftesbury Family Mediation and Collaborative Law

Your financial future and the futures of your children rest heavily on the agreements reached (or the judgments made) during the divorce process. Given the importance of the issues involved in the divorce process it is desirable to take all unnecessary traumas out of the situation but unfortunately going through family courts can be enormously stressful. The family law team at Bonallack & Bishop can use family mediation or collaborative law as alternatives to traditional divorce proceedings in order to save clients in Shaftesbury stress, delay and money.


In our experience helping separating couples across the South, family mediation and collaborative law lead to fairer arrangements made in less imposing surroundings. Those clients who are willing to leave bitterness at the door, sit down with their ex-partner and focus on achieving fair outcomes can therefore benefit greatly from these methods. However, couples who cannot set their differences aside will not be able to engage in the family mediation or collaborative and should stick to the traditional divorce process.


The collaborative lawyers and family mediators at Bonallack & Bishop are fully accredited specialists practising nothing but family law. Call today and we will be able to advice you on the most appropriate form of dispute resolution for your Shaftesbury divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation.

If you come to Bonallack and Bishop, your initial telephone advice and your first appointment with one of our specialists is free.

So simply phone us on [01722] 422300,

Or, if you prefer, email

Devizes Family Mediation and Collaborative Law

Specialist Family Lawyers/MediatorsDevizes Family Mediation and Collaborative Law - Resolution Mediator Logo

Divorce is an inherently stressful process but it needn’t take years, enormous expenditure on legal fees and bitter arguments to complete. There are alternative methods of dispute resolution known as collaborative law and family mediation which could not only save separating couples time and money but acrimony as well.

No Family Mediators in Devizes

Separating couples in Devizes currently will not be able to find a family mediator in their local area but thankfully, Bonallack and Bishop based in nearby Salisbury and Amesbury have specialist family mediators who can help.


Couples who are willing to cooperate can reap great rewards from the family mediation or collaborative law process. These alternative forms of dispute resolution encourage couples to reach fair agreements between themselves under the guidance of fully qualified family law experts.

Our family mediators are already qualified family lawyers and our collaborative lawyers hold full accreditation. We therefore have the expertise that couples in Devizes need in order to make fair arrangements for all concerned in the divorce settlement.


Bonallack & Bishop has the family mediators that couples in Devizes need to take some of the stress out of their divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation.

Get in touch today to receive your FREE initial telephone advice and arrange your FREE first 30 minute appointment with one of our specialists.


Fordingbridge Family Mediation and Collaborative Law

If you going through a relationship breakdown, divorce or civil partnership dissolution, you will want to reach fair agreements over your finances and arrangements for any children who may be involved quickly, cost effectively and with minimum argument. Unfortunately, separations are rarely so straightforward and the bitterness of the parties often gets in the way of finding fair resolutions. Collaborative law and family mediation are ways of settling the issues arising from divorce expeditiously and amicably, saving parties money in the process.

However, at the time of writing this blog, there are no family mediators in Fordingbridge.

Fortunately, Bonallack & Bishop in nearby Salisbury have expert family mediators and can help couples in Fordingbridge with their separations.


Family mediation and collaborative law are not well suited to every couple. Those whose differences are too deep set for them to be able to talk through issues should stick with the traditional divorce route. However, those who believe that they can sit down and negotiate issues relating to children and finances for example will find that there is much to be gained with family mediation and collaborative law. Our expert team of family lawyers could help you with either of these dispute resolution methods.


Our family mediators are also experienced lawyers and have fully qualified collaborative lawyers who could help clients in Fordingbridge as well.

Your first telephone consultation is FREE, as is your first 30 minutes appointment with a member of out team – so call [01722] 422300 today,

Email us at

Family mediation – it really is cheaper and quicker – and that’s official

Anybody who has browsed this website, or who has read any of my earlier blog entries, will know that we are big fans of both the family mediation and collaborative law approaches to solving disputes arising out of relationship breakdown. Apart from all the other benefits such as reducing conflict, giving parties control, reassuring children that their parents are working together in the interests and generally making the whole process more dignified, we have always been utterly convinced that family mediation is much quicker and often much cheaper.

So it was nice to come across some official statistics that back me up. According to the National Audit Office “Value for Money Report”, family mediation services really do resolve family disputes more quickly and cheaply. Now, I should point out at this stage, that this report is hardly bang up to date – it’s over five years old and also did relate to family mediation using public funding [as we must now call legal aid] – but I’m pretty sure that the principles are sound.

According to the National Audit Office, the average family law dispute case dealt with by family mediators are sorted out in an average of just 110 days – which is quite remarkable when you compare that to the average length of non-mediated cases – an amazing 435 days! What’s more, the National Audit Office reports the average cost per client of resolving family law disputes using mediation was just £535 compared to £2,823 for disputes dealt with by the courts – again using public funding.

So there you have it – official proof that in addition to all its other benefits family mediation really is cheaper and quicker.

Family mediation set to receive funding injection

The government is set to invest £10m in family mediation; a move which it hopes will remove pressure on the courts and take some of the stress and acrimony out of divorce proceedings.

It has long been held that the government should throw support behind methods of dispute resolution which are cheaper, faster and less complicated than court proceedings. Family mediation has steadily grown in popularity in recent years and is now deemed to help save the expense and animosity that often characterises divorce.

Under family mediation, couples are encouraged to reach agreements between themselves without the need for solicitors to argue their case in court. It is usually the division of finances and arrangement of child residency and contact provisions that are decided using the process. Couples discuss their issues over a series of meetings with a fully accredited family mediator present. This mediator is able to direct discussions and encourage agreement before a final decision on the matters is taken by a judge. Whilst both sides should instruct a solicitor to inform them of their rights, solicitors will not be directly involved in the process.

Traditional court proceedings can be extremely stressful and it is often children who suffer the most and the new government plans may help to take some of the trauma out of divorce and separation. The government has already made it a legal requirement for couples to attend a family mediation meeting before being able to get any court orders relating to child custody or financial matters.

The problem with the new proposal is the figure itself. Whilst the government is absolutely right to look to give family mediation services more backing, £10m is not really enough of a commitment. Considering that this method could be crucial to many couples across the country, it is disappointing that the government has assigned such a small sum to its expansion.

Call our specialist Family Mediators/Lawyers today

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433                

OR e-mail

The process of Family Mediation

Family Mediation is a way of resolving relationship disagreements without involving the courts.

The Mediator will contact your partner to find out if they are willing to try mediation and, if they are, you can then attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) either with your partner or alone, to establish whether or not Mediation is suitable for both of you. A Family Mediator is trained to help you reach an agreement without bias in a safe and neutral environment in which you and your family members explain your concerns and needs to each other. They will also:

• Check eligibility for free publicly-funded Mediation (formerly Legal Aid). If you are not eligible you will have to pay for each session; as a guideline, Legal Aid pays £87 plus VAT per person or £130 plus VAT where both partners are present

• Schedule further meetings at which you may work on communication issues, renew arrangements for children, exchange financial information and consider options

• Suggest other help, such as financial advice or support for your children

If you are applying for a Court Order about finances, money, property, possessions and arrangements for any children from the relationship however, the Court will require you to have attended an MIAM, with the following exceptions:

• Your Mediator submits form FM1 indicating that one of you was not willing to attend an MIAM

• Your Mediator has communicated that the case is not suitable for Mediation within the past four months

• either of you has made an allegation of domestic violence against the other within the past 12 months and police investigations or civil proceedings were started

• your dispute is about money and either of you is bankrupt

• you do not know the whereabouts of your partner

• you want to apply for a Court Order but for specific reasons do not intend to give your partner any notice

• the court application is urgent because somebody’s life or physical safety is at risk or a child is at risk of significant harm

• the Order is about a child who is already involved with social services because of concerns over their protection

• you have contacted three Mediators within 15 miles of your home and are unable to get an appointment with any of them within 15 working days

If you are considering or are ready to seek Family Mediation, contact our specialist Family Law team who can provide you with expert legal advice – 2  of them are jointly qualified and accredited lawyers/Family Mediators.

Good news for the growth of family mediation and collaborative law

According to a survey published today by Resolution [the nationwide association of 6500 specialist family lawyers], a full 53% of the 2018 British people surveyed would prioritise making any divorce as free of conflict as they can. The survey was carried out by ComRes as part of Resolution’s Family Dispute Resolution Week which aims at highlighting the availability of non confrontational approaches to family disputes, such as collaborative law and family mediation.

However, as evidence that the collaborative law and mediation messages still have a long way to go, 45% of those surveyed, believed that most divorces inevitably involve a trip to court. Again the good news is that reality is quite different. With regard to financial issues, which are at the centre of most divorce disputes, our family law and divorce team see under 3% of them involving any form of contested final hearing – though a larger percentage do involve some element of court attendance prior to a settlement being reached.

In addition to greater public awareness of these non-confrontational approaches, recent figures provided by Resolution show that the use of family mediation actually increased by 51% in 2011 compared with 2010.

What was also interesting from the survey was that most headlines concentrated on the number of people saying children should come first in any divorce. The press release from Resolution which accompanied the release of the survey had as its headline “Four out of five people say children should come first in divorce”. What was worrying, however, was that on checking the actual survey figures, the remaining 22% did not believe that children should be put first or even second when it came to resolving a divorce! Absolutely staggering. It seems, therefore, that however keen many family lawyers are to take the heat out of divorce, and ensure that the interests of children are prioritised, a significant number of the public still don’t get it.

If you live in Wiltshire and you’re going through a divorce, civil partnership dissolution or any form of relationship breakdown or dispute, we recommend family mediation and collaborative law as positive ways to approach resolution of your problem – call our specialist lawyers today for FREE initial legal advice and a FREE 30 minute appointment.