I am a partner at Aberdein Considine and head up the Family Law team in Edinburgh. I have practiced family law exclusively since 2001 and deal with a broad spectrum of family law work, including both child law and financial provision. I am accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as Family law Mediator and as a Specialist in Family Law. I strongly advocate couples engaging in alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation or collaboration, with a view to attempting to resolve the issues that need to addressed, without having to ask the court to get involved. Sometimes court is inevitable, but rarely is the outcome an ideal one, either on paper, or in terms of the financial and emotional impact on couples and often also their families. Mediation as a process, has many benefits. It allows couples to take control and ownership of the issues they need to resolve; and to look to explore and achieve outcomes they have shaped themselves, taking account of what they believe is in their best interests and those of their family; as distinct from having a decision maker impose an outcome upon them. Usually those self-determined outcomes work much better for the families involved; and the potential negative impacts of separation and divorce are greatly reduced. Family law mediators are specially trained, and highly skilled at, helping couples explore and hopefully achieve their own such outcomes.