“Captain Corelli” Author Advocates Mediation

April 2012

Like many others reading this, Sheila Parkes, Head of Haymarket Family Mediation at Brain Chase Coles, read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, several years ago for her Book Club. Little did she think then that she would be coming across him again not as an author but this time extolling the benefits of mediation in the area of family breakdown.

In an interview with Yasmin Alibhai- Brown on Radio 4’s “One to One” series on 28th February 2012 (link to podcast), Louis de Bernieres, patron of Families Need Fathers, talked of the “tornado of different emotions” that can occur on a relationship breakdown – the unjust bereavement, the fury and outrage, the sense of injustice and the silence in the house. Powerful words.

His former partner left him in 2010 after an eleven year relationship with two young children of 4 and 1. He was heavily critical of the legal system in the area of family law calling it “a moral outrage and institutionally anti male”. He did however expound the virtues of mediation as being far quicker, cheaper and less adversarial. You can’t “hide behind lawyers” and you cannot be unreasonable, as it is then obvious to everyone in the room. Within mediation, he was able to reach agreement for a shared care arrangement with his former partner.

Sheila Parkes set up Haymarket Family Mediation for Brain Chase Coles in 1999 and has been involved in hundreds of mediation since then. She agrees that the mediation process can be far better than the litigious court process for many separating couples as they are able to devise their own solutions in mediation without the baggage of what can be conflicting advice from lawyers, friends or family.

Every other Weekend – a poem by Louis de Bernieres

We recognise each other. We are unmistakeable;
Deserted ones, the broken-souled, the robbed, the betrayed,
The ones who messed up, got messed,
Standing forlornly, hunched by the slides
Pushing the swings too high.
Much too jolly by half,
We bravely join in, casting our pebbles out in the sea.
We observe each other and nod,
Exchange our stories in playgrounds and parks.
We have knives through our hearts, our guts torn out
And burned in front of our eyes.
We buy them ice cream,
We hug them too hard, sniff at their hair, kiss their skin, tickle their feet.
We give them back on a Sunday night, and then
Go homeless to silent rooms,
The cowed and defeated, disenfranchised, disjusticed men.

Let us at Brain Chase Coles, help you avoid this despair – whether you need family mediation, collaborative law or a family lawyer, we can tailor our service to your needs.

For further information on these options, please contact Sheila Parkes on 01256 354481 or by email at sparkes@brainchasecoles.co.uk.

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