Alternatives to court in separation, and divorce and child arrangements

02 Dec 2020

Court proceedings should be considered a last resort for resolving child arrangement issues or financial division upon separation / divorce.

There are many reasons why court proceedings should be a last resort, some of these are:

  • The cost implications of being legally represented;
  • The potential uncertainty of a Judge imposing an Order on you should you not be able to agree;
  • Court proceedings can be considered to be a hostile step and cause further animosity between parties / parents. This is not helpful especially when parties will need to continue to parent their children for years to come.

Luckily, there are many alternatives to try before considering whether an application to the court is necessary. These are known in the legal field as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and some to consider are:

  1. Mediation – is a cost effective way of attempting to agree any differences between you and your ex-partner, with the help of a third party mediator. You can continue to receive legal advice from your Solicitor throughout mediation. If the matter does proceed to Court then you will need to prove that you have attended a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. We have mediator lawyers here at Trethowans who would be happy to discuss the process further.
  2. Collaboration – a collaborate approach is often preferred as it is an attempt to avoid taking the matter to Court and so all parties sign an agreement agreeing not to take the matter to Court. Collaborative Lawyers are specially trained to assist you with reaching a settlement that best meets the needs of you and your family. If the matter latter does proceed to court then the collaborative lawyers are no longer able to represent the parties.
  3. Arbitration – is an alternative to court again whereby the parties jointly instruct an arbitrator who will make a decision that will be final and legally binding between the parties. The positives of this approach include the speed in which a decision can be reached, the flexibility and less formal setting than a courtroom and it can often be more cost effective than court in the long run.

If you would like discuss alternatives to court in family law matters, please get in touch with Trethowans’ Family team today on 0800 2800 421 or contact us here.

More information about alternative dispute resolution can be found on the Resolution website here.

Author

Helen Clarkson

Associate