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East Midlands Chamber News

Pat Qualifies to Look After Youngsters' Interests when Parents Split

Pat SallisA solicitor based in Amber Valley has earned a new qualification which will enable her to specifically help children in family mediation issues.

Pat Sallis, family solicitor with Ellis-Fermor and Negus, will provide a friendly listening ear to children and young people to ascertain their wishes and feelings when parents split up.

Pat's new status coincides with the fact that legal aid for family work work will effectively disappear at the end of the month in a Government cost-cutting exercise, but mediation in family matters such as divorce will still be eligible for help.

From April 1 Ellis-Fermor and Negus will have a franchise from the Ministry of Justice to deliver publicly-funded family mediation.

And within that role Pat has been awarded a qualification which enables her to directly engage with children during mediation.

The award was made by Resolution, one of the legal profession's governing organisations, and followed an intensive training course, assessment, and a full Criminal Record Bureau check.

Pat is only one of five solicitors in Derbyshire and only one of nine across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to have this qualification under the Resolution scheme.

Pat will be able to discuss matters with children of any age, only if the parents consent and under strict conditions.

“Children are often dragged along in the wake of a separation or divorce feeling isolated or marginalised which leads to distress and which can be an extremely emotional time for them,” she said.

“This qualification is another tool in the toolbox for mediation. Its importance lies in the fact that we are trying to help the children affected by a stressful situation.”

Although Pat splits her time between the Ripley and Belper offices her new role means that she will also be able to apply it to clients at the firm's Long Eaton and Beeston offices.

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