Family Solutions is a group of professionals from different disciplines who assembled in 2020 with the aim of improving the experience of those who are separating. They say that the use of language is crucial to shift mindsets away from “adversity and battles”, towards safety, wellbeing, and child welfare. They have proposed five principles of change to help achieve their goal (known as the 5 P’s).
- The use of plain English in proceedings. The language used by professionals can often be unintentionally intimidating and can lead to people feeling distressed and unsure how to ask for help. Use plain English to help prevent this and make the process easier and more accessible for everyone.
- The need for personal It is now a collective agreement that the use of ‘Applicant/Respondent’ is inappropriate and instead these should be substituted for the participants names to promote awareness of the magnitude that this process will have on someone’s life.
- The language used must also be proportionate to the issue in the case. Cases where the issue does not involve safeguarding concerns but is instead two people attempting to achieve the best outcome for their family, the language used should be to promote future co-operation focusing on the child’s-welfare. This would include substituting e.g., Smith v Smith to Smith and This is with the aim of establishing the mindset that both parties intend to reach the same outcome that is just for both parties and with the aim of moving away from the process being a ‘battlefield’. However, when the issue concerns safeguarding this should not be undermined and the language used should represent the magnitude.
- Language used should promote a ‘problem-solving’ Try to move away from the ‘battle’ mindset and instead promote a child- centred pragmatic approach. This includes replacing words such as ‘disputes’ to ‘the problem to be resolved’. These changes are all with the aim of reminding parents and their representatives of the real objective of the family court to namely establish the best outcome for the child.
- Finally, the language used through the process should promote a positive future as this is the main goal of the proceedings.
At Wrigley Claydon solicitors we understand that a separation is a stressful time for all those involved. We are here to assist and make the process as easy as possible. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call us on 0161 624 6811 where we will be happy to help.
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