Alternative Dispute Resolution
Separating couples are increasingly seeking to resolve issues relating to children and finances without recourse to the courts. Instead, they are turning to alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation, early neutral evaluation and arbitration. These alternative methods are often seen as a less adversarial and more collaborative approach to divorce and separation, offering more control and flexibility to the parties involved.
A mediator acts as a neutral third party whois available to help spouses/ cohabiting couples discuss and resolve issues related to their separation, such as property division, childarrangements, and financial support. The goal is to reach mutually agreeable solutions outside of court, promoting open communication and cooperation. A mediator cannot give legal advice or impose a solution on the couple but can only facilitate discussions to help the parties find a solution themselves.
Matthew Booth is a qualified mediator sitting within the family team and can guide couples seeking to resolve matters without recourse to the courts. Matthew’s contact details appear below.
The family courts are increasingly open to scrutiny and, following the Covid pandemic, subject to extensive delays. We are frequently involved with cases where a couple is able to agree to eschew the court process and to engage the services of an arbitrator instead. An agreed and suitably qualified arbitrator will be identified, who can then hear the case and at the conclusion will impose a resolution upon the parties’. There are a myriad of advantages to progressing matters in this way. Arbitration is confidential making it an attractive solution for those who wish to avoid media attention. Arbitration is flexible and can be held in a location and at times to suit the parties and will typically be quicker and less expensive that contested court proceedings. The arbitrators’ decision will be binding upon the parties.
Early Neutral Evaluation/ private FDR
We frequently engage in this process whereby an experienced specialist solicitor, barrister or retired judge is appointed to hear the parties respective positions on the issues in the case. The individual hearing the case will then give the parties an indication of what he or she thinks the court might do were the case to proceed to a contested hearing. Whilst the indication is non-binding and the parties’ cannot be compelled to follow the indication or reach a concluded agreement, we find these appointments have an extremely high success rate with upwards of 90% of cases settling at or shortly after these appointments.
Our services include:
- Advice: Providing legal information and advice regarding divorce laws and regulations to help spouses make informed decisions about alternatives to the court process and the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding with a particular route.
- Establishing a road map: We are able to assist in planning an alternative route to issuing court proceedings and can put in place the necessary arrangements and timetables to progress matters.
- Document Preparation: Assisting in the preparation and review of legal documents designed to give effect to any agreements reached to ensure they accurately reflect the terms agreed upon.
- Legal Compliance: Ensuring that any agreements reached are compliant with UK divorce laws.