Letter: Less to lose with mediation

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The Independent Online
I READ with interest Sue Fieldman's article 'Splitting up is harder to do' (Business, 12 December). Some valid and constructive points were made but I must, however, take issue with Margaret Bennett and Peter Grose-Hodge, both matrimonial solicitors.

The aim in mediation is to try as far as possible to correct an imbalance in bargaining power. Full financial disclosure is required. How much better it is for a couple to discuss their finances together rather than at arm's length. There are, of course, situations where the couple cannot cope with a face- to-face encounter.

My experience in more than five years as a family mediator with the Family Mediators Association shows that if the mediators ensure that the couple have full information, they are able to make decisions for themselves which they feel are fair and equitable for their given situation. In most cases, this is far cheaper, emotionally and financially, than the adversarial route.

For Miss Bennett to call the Lord Chancellor's proposals 'off-the-wall' and 'ridiculous' before there has even been any debate on the issues surprises me.

Mr Grose-Hodge makes the perfectly valid point that in order for mediation to succeed the mediators have to be skilled and professional. Nevertheless, his views relating to 'do-gooding social workers, ex-probation officers and the blue-rinse princess brigade with a little time on their hands' are insulting and bear no resemblance to my colleagues.

Rita Bleiman

Family Mediators Association

London N10

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