The holidays are often seen as a time of joy and family union. But for some, it can be a very stressful time. It means spending more time with those closest to us, and this can test even the strongest of relationships.

January is typically the time of year where the most separations happen and divorce proceedings begin.

Those going through a separation can face a long and winding road as they seek to settle financial affairs and arrangements for their children.

Those who see no alternative to a fight in the Family Court can anticipate huge costs, lengthy timeframes and added angst before their matter is completed and they can move on with their lives.

Where children are involved in relationship breakdowns, the stress of dispute resolution is likely to be even greater.

But did you know there’s an alternative to costly and protracted legal processes? It’s mediation.

Ian Shann, who has been practising family law and family mediation in Perth for almost 30 years, most of them as an Accredited Family Law Specialist, knows that mediation is a better way forward.

“Essentially, by using a solution-focused mediation model, we resolve disagreements by a process of negotiation and compromise rather than a fight,” Ian says. “This will almost always be in the best interests of the parties”.

“It helps if couples are wanting to finalise their disputes so they can move on with their lives, even where they cannot see exactly how the conflicts can be resolved; that’s my job – to help people find constructive ways to move on”.

“It is not always possible to get both parties to agree to mediate. Some people simply cannot or will not, and they will probably end up in court,” he says.

“However, where separated couples are able to see the advantages of a speedy resolution and the huge cost savings, (let alone the reduction of conflict and being able to participate in the outcome), they often choose mediation as a first (and hopefully final) step in moving on with their lives.”

“It’s exploring the limits of compromise and common sense and trying to help people arrive at a solution which, at the end of the day, is going to be in both their best interests. I help them find those solutions.”

Ian established Move On Mediation in Perth in 2016 in a bid to offer a more sensible alternative for disputing parties at what is an emotionally charged time.

Move On offers a fixed-fee service of less than $1,000 per party and a quick turnaround.

“I don’t charge for the time I spend, I charge for results,” he says.

“Because I’m working on a fixed fee, there is an incentive for me to get things resolved not to drag them out and get paid for my time on an hourly basis.”

Typically, Move On aims to finalise an agreement for parties to lodge in the Family Court within three weeks from the initial client inquiry. And, if parties want the assistance of a family lawyer, Ian is able to refer them to several who offer very modest fixed fees to finalise documents or give straight-forward legal advice.

Ian boasts a “success rate” of almost 90 per cent for complete or substantial agreement reached on the day of the mediation. These agreements can then be turned into Consent Orders to be ratified by the Court and finalised legally.

Ian’s specialist interest in family law stems from his own separation three decades ago, well before mediation was an option. His case took about two years to conclude through the courts and he became an accredited specialist family lawyer as a result. After his own experiences both as a “victim” of the system and as a family lawyer, he knew there had to be a better way.

“I have had almost 30 years’ experience in family law. I understand what the family law is about and I know how to help people find solutions they can live with. We just have to be creative and think through the many options”.

If you’re going through a separation or divorce and would like to find out how mediation could help you move on quickly and affordably, contact Move On today.

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