Tamsin and our guests Sushma Kotecha, Sue Palmer-Conn and Katie Harding discuss Resolution.
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Sushma is passionate about people and enjoys being in a profession that allows her to help couples in conflict during one of the most traumatic and difficult periods in their lifetimes.
In 2021 she took a leap of faith and took the decision to give up a successful career in family law to focus on her passion and calling to help couples in conflict resolve disputes out- of-court. Her aim is to promote and encourage a holistic approach to divorce and separation.
Find out more:
Holistic Family Mediation
‘Holistic Divorce: Shi*t Happens, It’s How you Deal With It That Counts’ – her recently published book
Dr. Sue Palmer-Conn is a Chartered Psychologist with a background in child and forensic psychology. Sue is a multi-award-winning professional divorce coach and the UK’s only certified discernment counsellor who has worked with more than a thousand men, women, couples, and their children over the last twelve years.
Sue brings a wealth of knowledge about the emotional side of divorce as well as an understanding of the legal, financial, and parenting side. Sue’s experience as a psychologist gives her a great understanding of the human mind. She has experience of working with clients facing domestic abuse, narcissistic abuse, and coercive control.
Katherine is an associate in the family law team based in London. She acts for clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, financial disputes, private law children work and injunctive proceedings. Katherine has gained very considerable experience in complex international cases, with extensive work on numerous domestic cases.
She is a member of Resolution and sits on its Working Together Committee. You can contact Katherine here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.
You can contact Tamsin at email@example.com or arrange a free initial meeting using this link. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK
Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd
P.S. I am the co-author of “My Divorce Handbook – It’s What You Do Next That Counts”, written by divorce specialists and lawyers writing about their area of expertise to help walk you through the divorce process. You can buy it by scanning the QR code…
(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)
Tamsin Caine 0:06
In today’s episode, we’re going to find out more about Resolution. Now you may not be aware of Resolution or have heard of them yet, but we’re going to change that helps to understand how Resolution can help you as you find your divorce professionals, we’re also going to have a chat about how to select a solicitor mediated divorce coach, financial planner, some of the things that you should be looking for and some of the things that you might want to consider doing hope you enjoy the episode. Let’s jump right in. Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. I am as usual in this series, joined by an esteemed panel of guests, who I’m very delighted are going to be joining me for some chat today about Resolution and also about where you can find the right professional for you, for your needs and for, for what you’re hoping your divorce will look like. I’m going to ask my panel to introduce themselves. So to begin with Katie, how you doing? Thank you for joining me.
Katherine Harding 1:15
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me. I’m Katie Harding. I’m a family law solicitor in the Family Law Team at Penningtons Manches Cooper based in London. I’m also a member of Resolution and I’m looking forward to today’s discussion to to inform the listeners about what Resolution is and how it can be helpful to them as clients and also to assist them in what to look for when they’re trying to find a solicitor.
Tamsin Caine 1:41
Perfect. Thank you. And Sushma welcome. Thank you for joining me.
Sushma Kotecha 1:46
Good morning. Thank you for having me again. So I guess like Katie, My history is as a lawyer, but I gave the legal hat up over lockdown. I’m a dual qualified mediator and have been since 2010. And it’s an accredited, accredited mediation that I offer for all issues. Children and finances set my own fan mediation practice offers an online service called holistic binding mediation during lockdown. And I’m also looking forward to today’s conversation because I think it’d be great for our listeners to find out a bit more about where they can find you know, the professionals that they need to serve them their team to get through the difficult and tough, challenging times.
Tamsin Caine 2:23
Perfect. Thank you so Sushma. And last, but by no means least is wonderful. Sue Palmer-Conn Hi, Sue. How you doing?
Sue Palmer-Conn 2:32
I’m doing great. Yes, thank you. Sue Palmer-Conn, aka the divorce doctor. I’m a professional divorce coach. And I also trained professionals, divorce coaches.
Tamsin Caine 2:46
Fantastic! Short but sweet. And we’re going to find out much more about Sue’s divorce coach training business, I’m sure later on. So to start today’s episode off, we’re gonna pass over to Katie to tell us a bit about what Resolution is.
Katherine Harding 3:04
Yeah, so when I was getting ready for this podcast yesterday, I thought I’d have a little look on the Resolution website just to see how they describe themselves rather than just my interpretation. And what that is. So Resolution describes, describes themselves as a community of family justice professionals, who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. And I think that sums it up really nicely. I think. And two, there are two important bits, I think in that description. First is the use of the word family justice professionals rather than just family lawyers. Because people who work in the family law or divorce world can become members of Resolution. It isn’t just for lawyers. I think the other important bit in that description is about working in a constructive way. And that’s really, really important as a family lawyer, and I’m sure other family professionals to Resolution has a code of practice that when you become a member, you sign up to abide by that code of practice to work in a specific ways with clients, with litigants in person on the other side and with, you know, their solicitors on the other side of the case as well. You have training on that code of practice when you start so you’re fully informed about how you should be working. And it encourages family justice professionals to work together in a non confrontational way to try and resolve issues that parties are going through when they’re separating. And that might be thinking about the language that they use in correspondence so that it’s not an inflammatory language, or thinking about how they can best support their clients or their families to ensure that the needs of the children are put first, for example. So these are all things when you sign up to become a member of Resolution. You agree that you’re going to do? I think one of the really great things about Resolution is that if you and the lawyer on the other side are both members of Resolution, which I would say, in my experience, the majority of family lawyers are signed up to the Resolution code of practice. It sets things off on the right foot. I think clients come to us at a time, usually when things are at their worst, and probably things are very heated between them. And I think by signing up to the code of practice, one of the things we’re committing to is trying to take the heat out of that situation and bring things back to a calmer level to start having some sensible, sensible and practical discussions. And I suppose one thing I should say is, yes, it’s non confrontational, and constructive. But that doesn’t mean that your lawyer is just going to kind of roll over and agree that everything the other person wants, they’ll still take a robust approach, and they’ll still be acting in your best interest in your children’s best interests, but they’re going to do it in a more constructive and efficient manner.
Tamsin Caine 6:04
That’s brilliant random.
Sushma Kotecha 6:10
Started off with Latie.
Tamsin Caine 6:16
Such a mediation is really important in this process of non confrontational, obviously, you’re a member of Resolution as a as a mediator. And you’ve continued that, despite not no longer being a family lawyer. What tell me a bit about what Resolution means to you, and and why why you’re a member?
Sushma Kotecha 6:36
Yeah, I guess for me, it’s the community spirit, right. So not only was I remember when I was a lawyer, and now I continue to be a member of this because I see the value in the benefits of working with like minded professionals, who are coming from, you know, I guess the same objective for the clients that we’re serving in. And most of us who are Resolution members, whichever background professional we’re from, we’re actually coming, I would say from a heart centred perspective, usually from the child centred perspective with our children. And I think that’s key here, because we’re really trying to support families in the best way we can, and always reminding them of the bigger picture, you know, what’s the impact on the children if there are children, I guess. And so for me, it’s keeping that community spirit and working in a joint manner as we’re all trying to do, and making sure that our client has the key, you know, professional around them, and quite often when, you know, as mediators, signposting, you know, I know what my role is, I know what my lane is. And I know what I can and cannot do in terms of my level of experience and qualifications. So yeah, I absolutely see the benefits I’ve been a member for, since I qualified to be completely honest. And for all the reasons that Kate has just outlined, it’s really important to always educate and remind clients that, you know, if they haven’t got a lawyer engaged, I’m always waving the flag, you know, make sure you try and engage a lawyer, that’s a Resolution member, because of the fact that we’ve signed up to this code of practice in conduct that we’re all very proud of. You know, it comes from a place of if keeping, as you said, that temperament down. Of course, none of us roll over. And as mediator, of course, I’m not taking anybody’s side, and I’m always encouraging legal advice, or, you know, financial support coaching. But at the end of the day, it’s just to try and manage their emotions as well as the legal side, I guess from from my point of view.
Tamsin Caine 8:25
Yeah, absolutely. And Sue, divorce coaching is, I guess, one of the more recent developments in in the family justice professionals, and what, what brought you to Resolution? And why is it important for you to be a member?
Sue Palmer-Conn 8:42
The main reason that I joined was to be seen as a professional in the field. You know, I’ve worked really hard and I’ve got numerous coaching qualifications, becoming more and more specialised, and once I gain the full qualification for professional divorce coaching, I wanted to ensure that my clients were working, knew that they were working with somebody who was qualified, and experienced it within that field. And I think, you know, there’s, unfortunately there are a lot of people calling themselves divorce coaches, but really, they are life coaches who just happened to work with people who are coming out of divorce. And unless they’ve been through specialist training, they don’t really understand apart from their own experience, they don’t really understand all the nuances of the psychology, the emotions, the potential conflict area, is of divorce. And I would always encourage people to look for somebody who has got that full, professional no qualification shouldn’t experience behind them? You know that? I think, you know, it also allows you then to know that you’re working with people with working in the same sort of like minded way.
Tamsin Caine 10:15
Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with with what you’ve said there about, about divorce coaches. Now I’ve met a few people over my time of working in this field where they’ve said, they’re a divorce coach, and then they’ll do a few months, then they’re a divorce coach, and then suddenly, they’ll be a dating coach, and then a few months later, be a marketing coach, and you’re out bits, a bit like that. Yeah. And I wonder if it’s because they realise actually, it’s, it’s, it’s quite hard working with people going through divorce, it’s very emotional period of time for people in it. It’s not, it’s not an easy roll. What I’m interested into is how our listeners go about finding a divorce coach, who’s genuinely a divorce coach, who is experienced in this field and who’s got the right qualifications, what, what qualifications we’re looking for, what, what things should, should we be aware of when when we’re looking at divorce coaches?
Sue Palmer-Conn 11:19
Currently, in the UK, the Divorce Coaching Academy is the only one that is externally accredited. And that to me, it’s one of the important things that the quality of coaching is recognised by an awarding body. The there are there is a programme over in the States the certified divorce coaching programme, which is externally accredited as well. So I would look to see a if they are calling themselves a professional divorce coach. And be or have they done an accredited programme?
Tamsin Caine 12:02
Okay, and are there are there programmes that that look make them look as though they’ve got qualifications that aren’t accredited? How do we find out that? I guess it’s because this is an important thing, isn’t it? It’s really important that you find the right professional who’s properly experienced and properly qualified. In this area, especially when you’re going through such an emotional period of time. You want to be supported by people who are, you know, suitably qualified and accredited?
Sue Palmer-Conn 12:35
Yeah, definitely. Yes. There are a couple of courses, mainly online courses, that, you know, train people just using videos or written material. There’s no coaching, observation, or mentoring or supervision. They tend to call themselves divorce and breakup coaches. Okay. So, look for people that, you know, most coaches offer a free half hour consultation, talk to them before you engage them. Ask them the right questions. What qualifications Have you got? What experience have you got? And even how long is it since your own divorce because if you’re working with somebody who has only recently gone through a divorce, then they’re going to be working from sympathy, not empathy, they’ll be triggered by their own experiences will be triggered. And that’s one thing at the Academy. We won’t allow anybody to train that has only recently gone through their own divorce, they’ve got to be well and truly through it, so that they can come from a place of empathy, not not just sympathy.
Tamsin Caine 14:01
That’s good advice that and I would imagine that the divorce coaches who are serious about about their profession would also be members of Resolution as well. And then, you know, they’re observing the code of practice that take Katie so eloquently told us about earlier.
Sue Palmer-Conn 14:20
Unfortunately, the the the moment they can only be associate members, they can’t be full members. But as you know, we are working to get an A Resolution accreditation, so that people then can be completely assured that they are fully qualified.
Tamsin Caine 14:39
Absolutely, absolutely. And that that will be a fantastic step as well. So mediation, I always kind of… mediation is not just about divorce, is it? And so googling mediator is not necessarily going to give you somebody who’s experienced in this field.
Sushma Kotecha 14:57
Yeah, mediation is across the board and there is other sectors as well, absolutely. So yeah, if if our listeners are looking for a mediator and of course qualify, we’re looking for a family mediator. mediator number one. And number two, of course, there is a body that all qualified mediators should be signing up with the to be recognised. That’s a valid mediation, counsel. So at the outset of this podcast, you mentioned that that’s something that’s going to be important to clients. So I’ve just googled the same as Katie has, you know, that value mediation counsel, and it’s very user friendly. At the bottom, on the right hand corner, you’ve got find your local mediator. And so if our listeners want to make sure that they’ve got somebody who’s qualified and accredited for their needs, and you have accredited mediators, some are accredited, just the family isn’t. So it’s just for children, you know, issues, some, just the finances, and some like myself, I’m, you know, offering all issues. And so it’s important for the clients to actually make sure they’re matched with the right qualified mediator, the right accreditation, that’s a gold badge of honour. So when you’re accredited, you know that you’ve got some of these experiences actually, literally walked on coal, to get that rotation, I have to say, it’s a really, really hard process to get that gold badge of honour. And but for clients, it’s great for them to know, you know, because they, if they know, they’ve got an accredited mediator, they know that they experienced the qualification. And as I said, the simplest way of finding somebody local. And through a one body, which covers all, you know, professional by mediators is about a mediation Council, of course, many of our clients are going to do the usual Google Search locally, and they will also pop up with lots of mediators, but then cross check it, I’d say, and check on their families and counselling. And as those just said, you know, what’s really important is, don’t just go to the first one that’s, you know, probably paid for ad, you know, speak to two or three, you know, rule offer three, you know, initial telephone consultations, do you resonate with them? You know, can you trust them, you’re baring your heart and soul at the most difficult time. And trust is so important, you know, and so that’s the kind of guidance I give to the to the listeners, as always, sort of, be sure that that you can trust in the person that you’re going to hire in terms of, you know, taking your case from where you are to where you want to be.
Katherine Harding 17:14
I think that’s probably true for trying to find a solicitor Sushma I think, we call it a beauty parade, when you know, clients tend to go sort of maybe go see three, four or five different solicitors to see who is a good fit for them. And I actually think that’s really important. And it’s not something that we mind that people do, in fact, you know, it’s got to be a relationship that works both ways. And there has to be trust, and you have to feel that that person is going to do their best for you and that they and that they get to you. It’s really important. Talking about trying to find people who are properly qualified, there’s lots of different ways that you can can find a good solicitor I think you can, you can look on the Resolution website, for starters, that will show you solicitors and I think you can search by area on there, and it will have people that are all signed up to Resolution on there. I think you can search on the solicitors Regulation Authority website as well, for qualified solicitors and you want to make sure that any solicitor you do instruct is has a an SRA number of solicitors Regulation Authority number so that they’re properly qualified, that’s really important. I can’t imagine that that many don’t. But just in case. And, you know, Google searches are helpful as is speaking to, perhaps friend or family, they’ve been through a similar situation, although I say that with a bit of caution, because just because that solicitor was the right person for them doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right person for you. But if you need a starting point, that’s not a terrible place to head off from, I’d say.
Tamsin Caine 19:01
Yeah, absolutely. I was going to ask you something, then it’s gone out of my head, what I am going to do is ask Sushma about couples, because when, when the client is talking to me, or to Katie or to sue, they they’re often it’s just one of them. In mediation, it’s always two who have to agree on the mediator. Now, because I know you get on as an individual with different people, don’t you? How do you find them? Right mediator for both parties?
Sushma Kotecha 19:36
Now in terms of that? That’s an interesting question. Because, you know, the difficulty is, when clients are split, they’re not in a good place to start, you know, thinking about working together, some are and some will actually do the search together. And that’s brilliant. And in fact, if you have a free discovery call with me because, as he says, most of us will offer some initial free sort of consultation. I will always encourage I’ll say, you know, have you spoken Teawrex that you, you’re looking for a mediator, because if you are on the talking terms, and you’ve got the capacity to do that share the website, whether it’s me or another person’s website, and be on the same page, because then you’re coming, having chosen the mediator together. Most of the time, it doesn’t happen that way. So quite often, one will be not, you know, one will already make a referral and already booked into their assessment meeting. And then of course, I’m then you know, gently sending communication with the party to invite them to say, well, that referral in obviously, given the benefits of mediation explained that it’s going to be, obviously cost effective way, you know, an opportunity to reach your own decision stay in control, but they sometimes feel like their noses at joint, they’re like, Well, why why have they chosen you? And didn’t? Why don’t we have a choice, and then I have to sort of calm them down. Because when they’re on the phone to me, because they have the opportunity, then to book a free discovery call? And I’ll explain well, yes, in an ideal world, it’d be great if you could, but of course, you’ve just had this tragic breakup. And you know, they don’t take it as I guess, an attack or them trying to get one up on you, because doesn’t matter who’s made the referral, who’s actually brought the case into mediation session, you know, we’re third party neutrals, just because one referral doesn’t mean that I’m gonna give them more, you know, credit or take their side. So it’s, again, I guess, the reassurance that I’m going to remain third party neutral, that is my role. And then most of the time, there is no issue with lawyer referrals, thankfully, my understanding is, and I think Katie will then speak to this is it they will, from my experience, and certainly when I was practising law, you know, we’ve kind of proposed three mediators or, you know, we’re five, whatever, and then give the opportunity to the parties and to consider which one that they would like to approach, the parties will research the three to five mediators. And then when the referral comes through, usually, it’s on the basis that because I’ve got lawyers engaged have actually reached that joint decision. I don’t know, Katie if that’s…
Katherine Harding 21:56
That’s exactly what we do, we usually suggest between three and five. And we’ll write to the other side and say, you know, we’d like to go to mediation, we, here are some options. And then they can make their own inquiries and see who might be a good fit. I also think when you’re the person on the receiving end of the invitation to mediation, it probably feels like it puts, I don’t want to say power, but it puts a bit more control back in your hand, rather than just being dictated to that this is who you’ve got to go and see, it takes that element away, as well. And also, what we tend to do is try and put forward mediators who offer sort of slightly different things in some ways, and it’s slightly different personalities or have a different approach, different approaches to how they work with their clients. Because, again, that gives the other person a few more options. And, you know, a bit more feeling of agency in that decision.
Sushma Kotecha 22:52
Yeah, can I just add one more thing in terms of in terms of mediation, of course, you’ve got a wide array of mediation services, different models, right. And so it’s very important for our listeners to understand and that’s part of their their research, when they’re deciding on which mediators go forward. And what kind of mediation service do they want. So for example, mines is a traditional model mines is, you know, I say traditional model, it’s an online, so it’s not face to face mines is an online service. And that’s what I offer, I don’t offer in person, the traditional model, meaning that they’re sharing the virtual space together. I don’t offer shuttle mediation, I don’t offer the new mediation where you can work with lawyers, that name escapes me, Katie, what’s the new model their
Sue Palmer-Conn 23:31
Sushma Kotecha 23:34
Yeah, and so there are some mediators, of course, you’ve got the additional strings to their bow. And so if that’s what they’re looking for, the lawyers actually know, this is going to be very contentious, you know, high, you know, high, high conflict, you know, big assets. Hybrid is probably the way to work, right? If there’s a huge power imbalance. So I guess we, our listeners need to also be tuned into, you know, what’s going to serve them, you know, middle England, those that actually are trying to save cost and don’t have the financial capacity to have hybrid mediation, will be looking to reduce their costs. And that’s why it’s great to have the lawyers in the background and then work with mediator. But if they’re looking for a shuttle, because they’ve got various issues, you know, whether it’s domestic abuse or different kinds of power imbalance, and they can’t share space, then they want to go to somebody who actually offers that. So I think that’s important to know.
Katherine Harding 24:19
I think Resolution is probably a good place as well for finding information out about all those different options. And you know, how to, you know, it’s got useful resources on there, not just for lawyers, because it has lots of things for us, like good practice guides, and, you know, templates and precedents and things like that. But from the clients perspective, it has lots of information about, you know, the law in general, what you’re right. Yeah, broadly speaking, and I’m pretty sure and I can’t say it’s 100% certainty, but I’m pretty sure there’s information on there about different sorts of mediation and things like that. So from the clients point of view Resolution website is a really good also a very good starting point when you’re Thinking about separating and where you stand on and how you might like to deal with things?
Tamsin Caine 25:05
Yeah, absolutely. So it just struck me that I said that Sushma will be in a different position because she works with couples. Do you do you work with couples? Or is it is the majority of your work just with just with one person?
Sue Palmer-Conn 25:19
I work with couples as a discernment counsellor. So the bridge between marriage guidance and going down the divorce route, when couples are at that point where it should be makeup or breakup. Not normally there’s one person that’s leaning out and one person that’s leaning in, you know, one person wants to end the relationship and the other one wants to save it. And if they if the leaning in partner persuades the other one to go for fun, marriage guidance, then the heading, the failure because they’re not fully engaged. The same with divorce, the leaning out partner will persuade the other one that, you know, the marriage is over, and they’ve got to go down the divorce route. If they take that bridging, and talk together, so that they are making an informed decision one way or the other. You know, they, in discernment, we get them to look at the problems that have arisen that have made them talk about divorce, and to also get them to look at their own part in that problem. So I’m helping them to see their role. And then at the end of the, of the discernment, they get to a point where they’re making really strong commitments to either six months of marriage guidance with, with divorce off the table, or to go down the divorce route, but divorce with dignity. And so I was encouraged them, especially since the no fault divorce to to look at filing together, going through mediation rather than jumping straight into litigation, but see if they can sorted out themselves and then engage the Yeah, but preferably a neutral solicitor you know, the new, one couple, one solicitor removed. And in that way, they’re working in a much more collaborative manner. And the children benefit hugely from it.
Tamsin Caine 27:40
Sue Palmer-Conn 27:41
The majority of my clients now are coming for discernment rather than coaching.
Tamsin Caine 27:46
That’s interesting, but is that because there is not very many discerning counsellors in the UK?
Sue Palmer-Conn 27:53
At the moment, I’m the only one. I can be quite busy then. I’m getting an awful lot of referrals from Europe at the moment. But I am starting, I’m running a discernment coaching, not counselling, because it would take me years to teach the counselling skills. But I’m running a discernment coaching course in April and May. So hopefully, there’ll be a few more or have
Tamsin Caine 28:20
gets most. Excellent. Excellent. And, Katie, we’ve we’ve mentioned Well, Sue’s mentioned about the one solicitor, one couple. Which is relatively new. There’s also Collaborative Law. So there are there are a range of options available. In terms of solicitors. How, again, how do we go about working out what’s best for us as a couple and where do we find the solicitors to offer these services?
Katherine Harding 28:52
Yeah, I think it’s obviously very specific to each individual couple as to what they think the right fit is, I think. I mean, we don’t offer one solicitor couple advice at the moment. I don’t I don’t know if, if we will. But there are pros and cons to that, which we could probably have a whole separate podcast on, but everywhere else.
Tamsin Caine 29:17
Yeah, maybe we will
Katherine Harding 29:19
Better do some research. I think if it is a very amicable divorce, if there’s good trust and communication between you, that’s probably not a terrible option. I think if you I think some people go into a divorce with a very fighting attitude, and I want to win attitude. And you know, there are lawyers around that are perhaps a bit more robust in that respect, and others are probably a bit more prepared to take that approach. But I’m not always sure how constructive that is. But again, it’s down. It’s down to Perth. No personal preference, I think. And that’s why I mentioned earlier sort of having this beauty parade of going to meet some different lawyers because, you know, we can say all these wonderful things about ourselves online. But until you actually meet someone in person and get a feeling from them, you don’t really no, it’s like online dating, you know, someone’s profile could be brilliant, they tick all the boxes on papers, but actually, you meet very much like online, when you can’t wait to get there after half an hour. But I, you know, I think I think you need to do that you need to shop around, you need to use all the resources that I mentioned earlier, to see who’s nearby who, you know, some, you might want a local lawyer, you might, you might be guided by how much lawyers cost, that might be a big factor in your decision. So city based firms, your London based firms tend to be more expensive per hour than the regional or local firms. And that might play a big part. And I’m sure it does, for a lot of people. There are so many different factors to consider in that you need to consider your individual circumstances. And, you know, do a spreadsheet of all the things that are important to you, prioritise them, and fill it out and see where you land. Maybe if that works for you, I think there’s lots of different ways that you can, you can make the decision, I think, if you’re going to go down a mediation route, you need to and I’m sure session, we can talk about this endlessly, but there has to be a degree of trust still between you and you still have to be able to collaborate and work together. And that’s why mediation is really great for some couples, and not so great for others. And it’s not a one size fits fits all approach.
Sushma Kotecha 31:53
I will always say to the participants, you know, at the outset, when we have the separate assessment meetings, you know, I wish I had a magic wand right away, but I don’t, the hard work is going to be undertaken by both of you, you’ve got to have that degree of trust and faith and that capacity to communicate and have your own voice box, because I can’t step into the breach. And you’re absolutely right, you know, so, you know, the government, obviously have given incentives to those that are separating divorcing children, and I can share on it and I guess most of you are already aware, which I’ve just sort of picked up the news on last night that we’ve got the extension haven’t we’ve had the 500 pound voucher scheme. And of course, it’s going to be a consideration overhaul of, of, you know, couples who are going through the separation divorce, and maybe, you know, Monday, where there are no the risk elements for them to actually give mediation ago first. Now, I’m not necessary for mandated mediation, I believe that it’s only going to work, whether it’s for buying by the participants. But I’m definitely supporting and backing the government and giving me no more funding to the 500 pound voucher scheme, because that has really helped, you know, in terms of supporting parties, but you know, with that, with or without the voucher that coming back to Katie’s point is that couples will need to do the work, the inner work themselves, you know, with likes of Sue and other coaches and counselling therapists, they’ve got to do that inner work and get the headspace correct, then to work together. Because, you know, we don’t do that for them. We’re supporting, facilitating and giving guidance, tools and resources information, and all of us on this podcast are able to help within our own expertise. But couples can only work together if they recognise they’re going to do the hard work themselves and actually swallow some bitter pills, in the sense that, you know, you’ve got to shelve certain issues. That’s the history that’s not going to serve us and lots of things come into play here. But you know, Katie, you’re absolutely right, it’s not going to serve everybody. But that extender case is actually need to be in a different forum.
Katherine Harding 33:45
And so sometimes it can be a combination of both, though, doesn’t have to be one or the other. You know, some there will be some issues, probably when you’re separating, that you can resolve in mediation, maybe you can sort out the arrangements for the children in mediation, and maybe you need us to help you with the finances, and maybe you need sue to help you personally with the emotional trauma of it or, and, and trying to come out the other side, you know, at least with some of yourself splint intact, not a completely different person. So it’s not like I said it before, but you know, it isn’t a one size fits all approach. It’s very subjective. And I think, just to flag in terms of mediation, I think sometimes people think, Well, fine, I’ll just agree to it. It’s a tick box, I’ll get it done. And then I can say, Well, I tried. But that doesn’t serve anybody. It’s completely futile. There’s just no point in doing that. You’ve got to go into mediation with an open mind and with a willingness to like session, instead, accept things that have happened, and try and compromise going forwards. And if you’re not willing to do that, then you know, there’s no point forcing it upon yourselves.
Sushma Kotecha 34:57
Yeah, and I always say if it’s my way or the Either way, that’s the attitude. Keep an open mind because that’s not working mediation, you’ve got to have that capacity to mediate.
Tamsin Caine 35:07
Absolutely, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got a question for you. So I know that there are mediation mediators with different backgrounds, you’ve obviously got a legal background, having been a lawyer during your beginning of your mediation, and then, obviously, but particularly that half and just start with the mediation, but there are mediators who’ve got a counselling background or therapy therapeutic background, Does, does that make a difference? When clients are choosing a mediator to go to? Should they? Should they be looking at the mediators background? Or actually, is it more of a personal, you know, Do you can you work with that person? Is that more important?
Sushma Kotecha 35:50
No, I guess it depends on what issues you want to try and resolve again, in going back to what we’re all saying here. It’s a personal choice and preference, right, depending on who you’re going to resonate with. But however, my understanding and certainly the feedback that I get is that where there are financial arrangements to be sorted out, those that are mediating My understanding is would prefer to have somebody who’s actually got that legal knowledge and background, because we’re able to then support, you know, I guess better having had that training, experience and qualification when we’re given overarching, you know, legal principles and guidance, we don’t give legal advice. But you know, I’m able to be more pragmatic in the, in the mediations, but if it was purely child only or there were, you know, more communication difficulties or other issues, soft wishes that need to sort out, you know, maybe they want to have a mediator who actually comes from a therapeutic background, because that’s going to be supporting to them. So yeah, absolutely, you know, knuckle down to the detail of your actual mediator, depending on what issues their parties need to sort out, they can then make sure that they get the right, you know, qualified mediator with the correct background. But that’s how it tends to be from my experience, I don’t know what yours is, you know, Katie, in terms of your clients, do they have a preference?
Katherine Harding 37:05
I’m not really, if I’m honest, they’re often led by us and recommendations that we we make to them, just, you know, over time, we have experience of different mediators, like I said earlier, who offer different things do things in a different way. And you just have developed a bit of an instinct for who might be a good fit for who I think sometimes we think it’s better if a media mediator has a legal background, if there are particularly complex issues going on that need to be considered when making those big decisions is kind of helpful, because they already have that legal knowledge. But I wouldn’t say there’s any sort of hard and fast rule about it. Really. I think, like you said, sometimes for the children’s side of things. It’s almost easy. Well, not almost easy, I suppose sometimes it could be more beneficial. If someone’s got a more therapeutic background. I think there’s sort of more grey area in the children world in their eyes, and perhaps the finances so that can that can be helpful. But yeah, no, no real preference, I don’t think, Okay, that’s interesting.
Tamsin Caine 38:10
So you must you must deal with people kind of before obviously, in your discernment counselling, before they’ve got to the point of deciding to go in divorce. So I’m assuming that you are quite often being asked for recommendations for solicitors and so on and I know you have a large network of people is for you, is it about choosing, you know, solicitors or mediators, etc? Is it about trying to match the person to the personality? Do you do the same as the as Katie and so far have said, and, and kind of give her, you know, three or five names that mean five sounds a lot to me, but that kind of range of names, how do you go about it?
Sue Palmer-Conn 38:51
I usually give three names. But I also look at what experiences you know, if not so much to determine clients, but the coaching clients, you know, if they’re coming in with specific problems, I need I you know, I will recommend them talk to at least three who I know have worked with those particular problems, you know, people that are coming in, whose partner is on the narcissistic personality disorder scale. It will be no use me recommended somebody who has never dealt with narcissism because it is such a tricky area to deal with. You know, inevitably that well, almost inevitably, it’ll end up in court, but you want to make sure that your client is being given an equal voice in the situation because the client with narcissistic traits is going to have a very loud voice very persuasive. Because that’s, that’s in their nature, the same as people who are coming in with children with special needs, I would look for a mediator or a lawyer who is used to dealing with children with special needs, because again, they need special information.
Tamsin Caine 40:29
Ya know that. That’s it? That’s very sensible approach. And I have one last quick way up, we are getting to the end of our time together. But I have one one quick question. For Katie. There are solicitors who, who specialise in family law, and there are I think, particularly in kind of smaller towns, to to those sorts of general practitioners for one, two, for better word you do kind of a range of things in this might be difficult for you to you know, I mean, I my stance has always been I would recommend to a family lawyer. Yeah. Rather than, you know, as a specialist, as somebody who’s obviously experienced and so on in that field. Am I missing something? Are there are the benefits that we should be looking at of going to a general practitioner?
Katherine Harding 41:27
It is tricky to answer. I would suggest if a friend was saying to me, I want to get divorced, who should I go and see, do you have any recommendations, I would refer them to a specialist family lawyer. Because they will without stating the obvious, but they will be up to date on family current family law, they will know the processes and there’s been a huge amount of change in the last couple of years in family law proceedings, the courts, you know how things don’t you know, even just now there’s a portal, you know, everything’s filed through a portal not sent to the court. And I think if you’re a general practitioner, and this says nothing against being a general practitioner, I’m sure they do have benefits in lots of different ways. They perhaps won’t be as up to speed with all of those things, because they’re spreading themselves across lots of different areas of law that they’re trying to keep on top of. I suppose one benefit is that, you know, in family law, and it’s one thing I love about it is that it does touch on lots of different areas. So there’s a bit of property, there might be a bit of company law. You know, there’s lots of lots of different things going on. And a general practitioner has probably got a finger in all of those pies. But I think if you’re going to a specialist, family lawyer, they will have a bit of knowledge about all these things and still be able to advise you on those will be able to refer you to, you know, for example, at this firm is sort of a multi service firm. So I’ve got colleagues and immigration or corporate world or whatever that I can refer clients to. But again, I think it might be as well influenced to, to an extent your choice by cost. I think more local practitioners tend to be general practitioners, as is very, I’m speaking very broadly, because I don’t want to you know, generally local firms, perhaps do do a bit of everything, but they’re probably going to be considerably cheaper. I think it also depends how complex the issues are, in your case, if there aren’t really any assets. And perhaps if there are no children, and it’s just a straightforward separation, and there’s, you know, perhaps a bit of savings and a few bank accounts, then a general practitioners, probably more than sufficient. If there’s a lot of money, if there’s a prenuptial agreement, or there are family businesses or something like that, it’s probably probably going to get a lot more complex, and you’re going to need some quite specialist advice on those issues. So again, I’ve said it 1000 times, but of course, this of course is very, very coupled dependent, I think depends on your circumstances. But also you might meet with a general practitioner and think yes, this person is the perfect solicitor for me and that’s, that’s absolutely fine.
Tamsin Caine 44:20
Yeah, so asking the right questions and find out whether they’re right for you. And you know, that same applies to financial planners. For me if you’re going through divorce you an IFA, or a financial planner, who is a generalist who hasn’t got the specialist accreditation who isn’t working in that area. They were unlikely to know the nuances and understand the nuances around around divorce and you know, as social milestones before you know getting accredited by Resolution is like walking over hot coals with a broken wrist as well because there’s a lot of writing and typing
Sushma Kotecha 44:59
Resolutions as well as the you know, the the mediation, right. But that’s why it has to be so difficult because then our audience can trust in us, right? Because they know that we’ve done the hard grafting and we come from that place. So just to touch on your point, you know what, I guess your question about, you know, specialists versus general, it’s like, Well, do you want a jack of all trades and a Master of None or a master of one eye? You know, you’re going through the most traumatic period in your lifetime? And yes, there might be some cost saving, but in the long term, might actually extend the costs, sometimes playing that little bit extra for specialty services really pays dividends?
Tamsin Caine 45:37
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think, as Katie said, you know, if it’s relatively straightforward, you know, absolutely fair enough. But if you are looking at any complexities at all, you probably do need to go down the specialist route. Thanks, frantic answering that case, because I put you on the spot. Right, very quick wit rounds for any final comments before we before we finish the episode, Katie, anything you want to add?
Katherine Harding 46:08
Um, I suppose, because we started talking about Resolution, which probably finished talking about Resolution as well. But I think for clients, it’s a good starting point to have a read there. There are lots of sort of leaflets, and, and guides and things not just for us, but for clients as well, which explain, you know, divorce process mediation, what a court process looks like, how to choose a solicitor, and those kinds of things. So it’s a really good place to start. And I would, I would recommend using that as a resource, and doing a bit of a deep dive into their website, because there are lots of links to things and various bits and bobs to read. So I think it’s a really useful resource.
Tamsin Caine 46:51
Absolutely. Well said, Sushma anything. Any last points to add?
Sushma Kotecha 46:55
I’m gonna second Katie, on what she said, because I did the same this morning, I did go on to Resolution website got this. I mean, I know it’s brilliant. You know, because I’ve been on there a number of times, but you know, just to go back this morning, I was thinking this is a wonderful resource for clients and for ourselves. But what I wanted, the last point, I just sort of like to say to those that listening is, you know, don’t be fearful about picking the phone up. As we said, you know, shop around speak to those that you might need to hire, speak to two or three at least, and only then hire somebody that actually resonates with you, and you know, that you can trust in them. And you can work with them. So I guess it’s just empowering those that are going through these tough and challenging times to know that it’s absolutely fine. Those of us who are certainly part of this kind of professional body, you know, we’re not there to convert them. In fact, none of us want to do that. We will be a sounding board. And we’re going to say well as and when you’re ready, you know?
Tamsin Caine 47:45
Yeah, absolutely. And Sue any final thoughts from you?
Sue Palmer-Conn 47:49
I think my final thought is, look for people who are prepared to work as a team, so that each person is dealing with their specialist area so that you’ve got the legal divorce curve, but the financial divorce covered and the emotional divorce covered, and then you’re going to get the best experience.
Tamsin Caine 48:12
Yeah, absolutely. That’s that’s excellent advice. And I think and don’t be, don’t be afraid that that’s going to mean your costs will spiral because that’s not our experience of of that situation. Having the right people doing the right parts of the job doesn’t necessarily end up costing you more it could cost you more if you go down the wrong route with the wrong wrong professionals trying to do the wrong bits of the job. So I think that’s that’s great advice. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me as always, some excellent comments met Excellent advice there for our listeners. Thank you for listening and we will see you very soon.
I hope you enjoyed the episode of the Smart Divorce podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website www.smartdivorce.co.uk. Also if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify and you wouldn’t mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some further support, we do have Facebook group now. It’s called ‘Separation divorce and dissolution UK.’ Please do go on to Facebook, search up the group and we’d be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care!