A new storyline has been aired in the Archers BBC Radio programme, whereby a young married couple, Alice and Chris, have recently separated with a one -year old daughter, Martha, between them.

Alice has suffered from being dependent on alcohol throughout the pregnancy and after the birth itself, and then underwent re-habilitation, with Chris looking after Martha

When Chris is ill, Alice looks after Martha on her own and they attend mediation to sort out the financial separation of the marriage, together with the arrangements for Martha.

Alice decides she wants to see a Solicitor and this causes great upset to the paternal family, with wide-ranging allegations.

Mediation can be a very useful tool for parties to reach agreement if they are able to do so. The agreement is just that and until it is made into a Court Order, it is not “written in stone” as many people would like it to be.

Therefore, Mediation and Court Applications can work one with the other, especially when seeking to formalise an agreement into an Order by consent.

In the event that Mediation breaks down and a Court Application is required, then the determining factor is what is in the child’s best interests.

In the Archers sketch, there is concern that the decision will be that the child will automatically be placed with the mother. However, that is not always the case. The Court will focus on the best outcome for the child, weighing up any safeguarding concerns and the parents’ proposals.

If you are struggling to reach amicable decisions about your child, then do seek legal advice as to the best way forward. We have a dedicated Children Department that can provide sound, strong advice whilst focusing on what is best for the child throughout.

We offer a fixed fee for up to an hour after which a written attendance note will be provided recording the issues discussed.

Please contact Annette Lowen via the contact form below or by phone on 01702 662963 (Essex)  020 35537115 (London).