Choosing a Family Law Solicitor or a Family Mediator
Are we the right Family Law Solicitors or Family Mediators for you?
What follows is a short piece which formed the basis of our Advert in East Devon’s Midweek Herald Newspaper in January 2014.
We regularly advertise in the Midweek Herald because it is a free newspaper that is delivered to homes in Honiton, Seaton, Axminster, Colyton, Beer and Ottery St Mary. It can also be found in Sidmouth. Our main office is in Honiton, although we are also able to see clients by appointment at our branch offices in Exeter and Taunton, so the Midweek Herald is a natural place to advertise. As an East Devon resident, Ian has been reading the Midweek Herald for quite a number of years.
Family Law and Mediation Experts in East Devon
Ian Walker has been a specialist Family Law Solicitor since 1992 and a Family Mediator since 1996. Ian has worked for Solicitors Practices recognised as amongst the best in the South West. Ian has a long commitment to good Practice and has served as a Member of the Family Law Committee of the Law Society, which promotes good practice and Law Reform. Ian has lived in East Devon since 1999 and in 2013 Ian decided that the time was right to set up his own practice based in East Devon, focused on assisting local families.
Our commitment is to assist our clients to achieve fair and child focused solutions to their family and children problems in as least stressful, but most cost effective way that we can.
Choosing a Family Law Solicitor or Family Mediator
Choosing the right Solicitor or a Mediator is an extremely important decision. Many firms display logos, but in our experience, it is not always known what these mean. Generally they are for expertise, but expertise in what? And how were they gained?
We are able to display more Logo’s than most. Hopefully the explanations below will help you to understand a bit more about us, and why we are able to describe ourselves as experts in Family Law and Mediation. We are always pleased to hear from potential clients.
The Law Society Children Law Panel
This is arguably the most prestigious of the family law related Accreditation Panels.
Members have to show, to the satisfaction of the Law Society, that they have and will maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of children law. To become a member a rigorous assessment is carried out by the Law Society. Membership has to be renewed every five years. Members are police checked. The number of members of the Children Law Panel is relatively small.
Ian Walker has been a member of the Children Law Panel since 1996. Ian has extensive experience in successfully acting for parents and Grandparents in complex cases about children’s welfare. These include cases involving Social Services as well as between parents
The Law Society Family Mediation Panel
To join this Accreditation Scheme a Family Mediator has to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Law Society that they have a “high level of skill and experience as a family mediator”.
Ian Walker is an Advanced (Practitioner) Member of the Family Mediation Panel. Ian has been a family mediator since 1996 and has assisted many couples. In 2002 Ian also became one of the first 20 mediators nationally to attain a similar Mediation Accreditation standard with Resolution.
Resolution is an organisation of lawyers who are committed to a code of practice aimed at minimising distress in family disputes. It was founded in 1981 as the Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA)
Ian Walker has been a member of Resolution since 1994.
Between 2009 and 2012 Ian Walker was the Chair of the Devon region of Resolution, having been elected by Resolution lawyers in Devon
Resolution Accredited Specialist
Resolution set up a specialist accreditation scheme for family lawyers in 2000. Like the Law Society Accreditation schemes, members are asked to demonstrate their specialist knowledge and membership is renewed every five years.
Ian Walker is accredited by Resolution as a specialist Family Solicitor. Ian was the first Solicitor in Exeter and East Devon to gain this Accreditation in 2001, which was shortly after the scheme, was launched.
Collaborative Family Lawyer
Collaborative Family Law is a process where the couple agree not to go to Court.
Cases are settled after a series of 4 way meetings between the couple and each of their Solicitors. Collaborative Law originated in the USA in the 1980’s as an alternative to Mediation. It was introduced to the UK in 2003/4 by Resolution.
Ian Walker was trained as a Collaborative Family Lawyer in 2005 after persuading Resolution to run one of the first Collaborative Law training courses in Devon in 2005. This process can be a good option for divorcing couples.
In family mediation a couple or other family members undertake one or more confidential meetings where an independent and professional Mediator assists them to find their own solutions.
As a process it works particularly well when there are disagreements about the arrangements for children. Before mediation takes place the mediator will check with each of the participants to make sure that the process is safe. Experienced mediators will adapt how meetings take place in order to maximise the prospects of success.
Ian Walker was trained as a mediator by Resolution in 1996 by two of the founders of FMA who were also pioneers of using mediation to resolve financial issues in divorce in the UK. There is no logo to show it, but Ian is also trained by Resolution to supervise other mediators and to meet with children as part of the mediation process.
The Family Mediators Association (FMA)
The Family Mediators Association (FMA) was founded in 1986 by six family practitioners who wanted to assist families resolve all issues arising from divorce in a constructive and child focused way using mediation.
Ian Walker was trained as a in 1996 mediator by two of the founders of FMA. Ian is a past elected member of the Governing Board of the FMA. We can use this Logo because Ian Walker is a member of the FMA.
Contracted with the Legal Aid Agency
There is no longer a Logo to show that a firm is able to provide Legal Aid. Instead, Legal Aid providers are permitted to use the text strapline ‘Contracted with the Legal Aid Agency.
Where Legal Aid is available it is only from specifically approved offices. Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors are able to provide Legal Aid for Family Law from our office in Honiton. There are 3 other contracted Legal Aid services in Honiton, but there are no Solicitors offices authorised to provide Family Law Legal Aid in Axminster, Seaton, Sidmouth or Ottery St Mary. It is either, come to Honiton or go to Exeter or Exmouth.
Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors also have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to offer Legally Aided Family Mediation from our office in Honiton, as well as in Exeter and Taunton.
We have been assessed by the Legal Aid Agency and have been awarded their quality standards; “The Specialist Quality Mark” and the “Mediation Quality Mark”. If you might qualify for Legal Aid, we will tell you what evidence you need to bring with you to prove that you qualify for Free assistance.
Free half an hour?
Advice is only ever as good as the information and understanding upon which it is based. Because of this we don’t offer a free 15 minutes or 30 minutes.
This is because 15 or 30 minutes isn’t enough time to get to know you, understand the issues sufficiently and to give you the correct advice. We Instead we make a small charge for a full hour, and we then charge lower hourly rates when you decide to proceed. We do our best to be open about charging at all times.