TIME FOR FATHERS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE

This is a direct quote from the Times last week.

The forthcoming President of the Family Division is sending out an S.O.S. to fathers.

Mr Justice McFarlane supports the message that children need relationships with both parents even if they have been separated.

Many fathers who I meet in mediation believe that they can only respond to the wishes of the mothers of their children rather than having a full and proactive role even where the parents have had to separate.

Many children are becoming used to their parents living in separate households and they need to be helped to become used to their new situation. As a family mediator, I find communication is vital for enduring and meaningful relationships to continue between separated parents and their children.  This happens through joint cooperation and foresight.  Separated parents often need some help to find a way forwards in achieving this and mediation is an excellent way of trying to help children find their own way without conflict and competing ideals.

There is a growing gangland culture whereby boys are joining gangs to find male role models, according to Britain’s top family judge.

And he says that the role of fathers in families is important.

I am heartened to read this because I fear many fathers feel they have few opportunities to continue their role to effect and this is really sad.   A child should have a decent relationship with both parents and fathers should play a role in their children’s lives.

Mr Justice McFarlane wishes to see fathers connecting with their children.  It is acknowledged that this can become terribly difficult where there may be three fathers for a mother’s three children.

Fathers are just as important to a child as mothers are, he says, genetically and in terms of identity and that a child is 50% of both of you in terms of another pair of hands, another brain, and another option.

Is it possible that a factor driving some boys into gangs is because there is no father role model at home?  So, Dads step up to the plate and help mediators and our judiciary to help the law provide a structure and solutions for family life which of course has changed so radically.

If you are struggling with making proper and consistent family and contact arrangements with your children then please consider family mediation as a first option.  The mediator does not take sides and will be trying to help both parents see the situation from a child’s viewpoint and to help parents make good decisions to enable children to remain safe and balanced in this challenging world.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, FMC and Law Society Accredited Family Mediator at Wynn Mediation at 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW. Telephone 01702 341241 or email enquiries@wynnmediation.com

 

PMM/Wynn Mediation                                                                                                                 July 2018

 

DOES LONDON REMAIN THE DIVORCE CENTRE OF THE WORLD AND WHAT IS SET TO CHANGE?

Amongst all of the discussions surrounding  the potential of a no fault divorce  an article yesterday, written by Frances Gibb, Legal Editor of the Times,  heralded proposals for a five-year limit on spousal maintenance awards in divorce with the intention of bringing to an end huge payouts and massive court costs.

Baroness Deech has spoken of the need to end the open ended divorce awards that have made London the divorce capital of the world.

There certainly has been a move to bring life time spousal support or maintenance awards to an end.

So we shall be looking towards more and more clean break settlements rather than the older type of award that provided indefinite  maintenance awards  and which critics have described as a “meal ticket for life”.

Baroness Deech is proposing in her Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill, a maintenance term of 5 years, with longer terms, only if needed, to prevent hardship.

The Times article provides that such a framework would avoid the need for “judge-made-law” and  appropriately points out that the opportunity for family mediation and out-of-court settlements can be arrived at without intervention by judges. It is hoped that this will herald change for people who do not wish to experience delays in the courts and to help towards reducing high charges involved within litigation.

 

The article refers to wasted costs of litigation and in particular to a husband who was awarded £50,000. However his costs and the bill presented to him by his solicitors was for £490,000.

Furthermore, pre-nuptial agreements are also referred to in the bill provided they are made water tight by both parties receiving legal advice.

Naturally, I was delighted to read that “The result of the bill should be better opportunities for mediation, less need to go to court, reduced trauma for children, lower costs, and easier time for litigants in person and a fairer outcome recognising partnership in marriage.”

If family mediation is a process that you would like to understand more about, please contact:

Tricia Muzalewski at Wynn Mediation, 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW

Wynn Mediation is a dedicated service. Please email us at:  enquiries@wynnmediation.com  or telephone us on  01702 341241

P.MUZALEWSKI, FMCA, WYNN MEDIATION,                                                                May 2018

 

 

WHY DO PEOPLE STILL USE THE FAMILY COURTS WHEN THERE IS FAMILY MEDIATION AVAILABLE?

I have read a recent article in the Law Society Gazette asking a similar question:

Why sack the only people propping up our justice system?

Court staff are papering over the cracks: now we’re set to hand them a P45.”

“Now we hear that court staff numbers are due to be reduced from 16,500 to 10,000. Mass redundancies appear inevitable and further court closures seem to be in the pipeline.

Let’s be clear: the system as it stands cannot cope with fewer people. It barely manages with the people it has. Cutting this number of staff means either making the system worse or fundamentally changing how we administer justice in this country. Anyone trying to argue differently is either blind to the consequences or is simply not telling the truth…”

Sadly, this affects people who place so much faith in the court system to receive justice and who are willing to put their lives on hold in the belief a judge will sort it all out.

As a family mediator, I hear of the frustratingly long delays suffered by people whose lives are halted and of the problems involved in attending a family court.

This is not intended by me as a criticism of the family justice system but it is vital that people who are in difficulty in sorting out family disputes are aware of the accessibility of high quality family mediation. Their dispute may be about resolving  an agree structure for  child arrangements or about financial and property issues, where the parties involved are confused about the steps they need to take towards achieving resolution.

FAMILY MEDIATION does exist to assist people in arriving at good fair and rational solutions that involve sensitivity and a safe neutral third party and a fair place to hold discussions without judgement and with access to lawyers if needed during the course of mediation.

The process can be put in place quickly and at cost effective rates.

There is no compulsion to mediate but frequently people manage to settle their disputes merely from attending the first confidential and individual meeting with an accredited family mediator who is available to listen and also to signpost appropriate agencies who can help to resolve their difficulties without recourse to the court.

For those who qualify there remains the possibility of applying for legally aided family mediation.

If you are interested in giving family mediation a try, then please contact  Tricia Muzalewski at Wynn Mediation, 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW

Our Email address is: enquiries@wynnmediation.com  or please  telephone us on  01702 34124.1

 

P MUZALEWSKI, FMCA WYNN MEDIATION                                                                           May 2018

 

 

   
   

 

Britain’s Biggest Divorce Case and London retains the reputation of the Divorce Centre of the World

A Russian Billionaire’s ex-wife’s divorce award of £453m is soon to be  contested in the Court of Appeal. This follows the wife’s own appeal  on the basis  of her claim that she has  not received a penny of the award granted by the Judge at first instance in  2016.

Farkhad Akhmedov, is described as being close to the Kremlin. He is reported by the Times to have owned property and an art collection worth more than £90 million and a £350,000 Aston Martin. He has bought his children flats costing £29 million and has  £7.2million in a London development, yacht, plane and helicopter etc….. He  was ordered to pay his wife Tatiana Akhmedova  41.5 %  of his immense wealth following  a High Court hearing  in London in 2016. This was less than she believed she was entitled to. She was seeking half of his fortune.

Mr Akhmedov,  age 62,   earned his wealth  from his work  as a gas and oil tycoon.  He is described in the Times as a close friend of Roman Bramovich, owner of Chelsea football club and contact of President Putin.  His wife is in her mid 40’s.

They have two sons who have been brought up by Mrs Akhmedov . The family  have been living in London since 1993. There was no nanny on the scene neither in their £39 million Surrey mansion nor in their £27.8 million holiday home.  Mrs Akhmedov  cared for the children and was awarded her 41.5% of her husband’s wealth on the basis of her “equal contributions to the welfare of  the family” during their 20-year marriage.  The wife is represented by her lawyer, Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia.

The husband’s team of lawyers raised the argument that Mr Akhmedov made special or stellar contributions to the fortunes of the marriage. Now he has been described by his team as the victim of “manifestly unjust” favouritism towards his ex-spouse by the divorce courts.  The original court judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave,  is accused of being unrestrained in favouring the wife’s position.

There were some interesting twists and turns in the original proceedings leading to the judgement following various reported attempts on the part of the husband to avoid his ex wife’s claim.

It must have cost a fortune and now they are back for round 2.

There is nothing to indicate changing  the London Law Court’s reputation as   the world’s favourite jurisdiction for expensive divorce cases.  It is still described the   Divorce Centre of the world.    We shall have to see if this case changes the ranking as opposed to other jurisdictions  and whether the husband is successful in his appeal.  Perhaps they should have tried mediation to avoid publicity and obvious very high costs to continue their post marital dispute.

Mediation is still available to all potential litigants who are sensible and still able to be rational about their situation.   It is there for those who value the hard work in earning income and capital during a marriage and also the work involved in  bringing up a family and being savvy as to how the law deals with such cases, however much money and assets are in dispute.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski ,  Law Society Accredited family mediator at

Wynn Mediation, 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff On Sea, Essex SS0 9HW   Tel: 01702 341241. Email:   enquiries@wynnmediation.com

PMM                                                                                                                                                     February 2018

MISTRESS FIGHTS WIDOW FOR SHARE OF £2.5 MILLION WILL – THE IDEAL DISPUTE TO BE DEALT WITH IN FAMILY MEDIATION

The claim is brought by a deceased wealthy businessman’s mistress for a share in his estate.

The businessman, Mr Baldev Kohli is described in the Times as a “larger than life” entrepreneur.

He had a relationship during his marriage to Mrs Harjeet Kaur Kohli and shared a house with his girlfriend, Melissa Proles and who is also the mother of their daughter, born in 2013.  He remained married and when he died the mother, Miss Proles brought a financial claim for “reasonable provision” from his estate, for their daughter.

Mrs Harjeeet Kaur Kohli  is disputing the claim on grounds her late husband’s intentions were not to abandon his family in India; nor was it his intention to make a home in Britain. Mr Kohli  died in Delhi at the age of 59 in 2015.

The case is being heard in the High Court in London  and the judge will be listening to arguments put by those representing each party to determine whether Mr Kohli’s will should be unpicked in order to make reasonable financial provision for his daughter  with Miss Proles.  The will did not make provision  and, hence,  the estate was left to his widow.

Questions are being  raised as to the child’s paternity  and as to whether the relationship between Mr Kohli and Miss Proles had hit the rocks before he had died.

The witch hunts and general defacing of the parties will continue. They will of course carry on  paying for their respective teams of lawyers and for  the cost of the hearing.    This is not to speak of the loss of privacy to the parties by the publication of the details of the case regarding their private lives.

A promise to marry on the part  of Mr Kohli is denied by his wife. However, do we ever really know what is said during a flourishing romance when we are not even present?  This has to be based upon fiction and expectation.

This distressing case illustrates the type of blind madness that strikes people in such a highly emotive dispute when others strip down and pontificate around the facts and assumptions reached on the basis of the ever thinning factual information available.

Within family mediation  we are able first  to meet separately with each party on a confidential basis with a view to establishing the facts of the case from each individual without pressure. It is then a matter of organising a sensitive joint mediation to help both parties to feel listened to and thereafter to try and agree a rational compromise which helps them to move on with their respective lives.

The costs of coming into mediation are minimal by comparison with the costs of litigation.

There must also be careful consideration paid to the costs of allowing your life to be taken over by the endless hostility  and exhausting  court process  that surrounds adversarial litigation which is all about money.  Instead,  it is vital to focus on the damage caused to the parties and their families by protracting such an acrimonious dispute.

In this case, Mr Kohli cannot return  to express his wishes unless he had the foresight to record his testamentary wishes by video or  by some other form of electronic secure device.

This case sets out the need for people with complicated lifestyles to consider  what happens when they die and of the need to provide for the beneficiaries or victims of individual lifestyle.  This is such a cruel situation for these people to find themselves in.    I would urge them to quickly seek mediation to compromise this dispute.

I recall a senior family law barrister saying to me once during a highly emotive case that many such disputes  are fought purely on the grounds of high principle.   Emotions are a terrible thing when they become unleashed and the parties are led down the cruel route of litigation without a break to think about costs and “fall out” from the effects of litigation.

Mediation is a reputable, professional,  tried and tested route for helping people who are in dispute to take advantage of a neutral place and an impartial professional facilitator(s)  to consider their positions objectively and where their motives for litigation are tested in such a way they are able to step aside for a moment to check what their reasonable expectations are. This is instead of the long and expensive railroad of litigation.

Family mediation is available to those who wish to  resolve inheritance disputes responsibly  and  who are in touch still with the practicalities as well as the sensitive way forwards to resolving  highly emotional disputes that have no certain pathway towards resolution in the courts.  The only certainty will be the very high costs and the never ending bitterness that will extend thereafter.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, Accredited Law Society and Family Mediation Council Mediator  at Wynn Mediation, 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff On Sea, Essex SS0 9HW  E mail: enquiries@wynnmediation.com   or telephone 01702 341241.

 

PMM/Wynn Mediation                                                                                                                 January 2018