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Options for Resolving Issues Upon Family Breakdown

We can advise you on divorce, nullity and judicial separation at any stage of a family breakdown. We can advise you as to the remedies available to you through court proceedings but before embarking upon this process there are alternative options available:

(a) Mediation

Mediation can help separating couples discuss arrangements for all issues stemming from their relationship breakdown from issues relating to their children to financial affairs. It is not a form of relationship counselling but instead helps couples who are separating decide how to end their relationship. Mediation (using either one or two mediators) can create a safe neutral space to help you reach agreement with the support of highly skilled mediators.

Mediation is a voluntary process which the courts actively encourage. Because mediation is confidential from all court process it can promote discussions and concessions that would not otherwise be possible. Mediation also has the advantage of being considerably cheaper than any legal process. Mediation can take place at any stage and almost any family issue can be resolved. The number of mediation sessions you will need will depend on you and your partner’s requirements. Most people going through mediation find it helpful to take advice from a family solicitor during the process. Solicitors can make sure that agreements reached in family mediation are fair and legally binding. The mediator encourages communication, helping to clarify issues, explore options and test which will work in practice and assist in finding solutions for the future.

(b) Solicitor Negotiations

If mediation, arbitration or the collaborative is not for you, your solicitors can negotiate an agreement.

(c) Family Arbitration

Family arbitration is a way of reaching a decision about your finances or property if your relationship has broken down and you are unable to sort things out between yourselves or through another form of dispute resolution. Arbitration is a voluntary process but once it has started it will deliver an outcome that is intended and expressed to legally bind both of you. Rather than focusing on helping you and your partner to reach an agreement, the arbitrator will impose an outcome on both of you.

Arbitration is an alternative to court and asking a judge to make a decision. The advantages are speed, flexibility, confidentiality and the ability to choose an arbitrator best suited to deal with the specific circumstances of your case. The arbitrator decides only the issues that you agree need to be resolved and will decide the procedures to settle those issues fairly and to avoid unnecessary delay or expense. Unlike a court imposed timetable, the timing of arbitration can be tailored to suit your requirements.

(d) Going to Court (Litigation)

For some people the right option will be to use the court process to decide issues between you and your partner. This may be because an agreement cannot be reached or there is a difficult aspect to the case. Once an application to the court is made there will be a structured court timetable. If going to court is the best option we will pursue your case to achieve the best outcome. We also work with a wide range of other skilled professionals including independent financial advisors, barristers and forensic experts who work in partnership to advise you on issues.

Property and Financial Issues

The uncertainty arising from the breakdown of a relationship can give rise to great anxiety and animosity between both parties. Worries ranging from concerns about the transfer of a council tenancy, who is to pay the mortgage on the matrimonial home, maintenance for children, sharing of pensions right through to achieving a fair division of multi-million pound assets, and family companies can all be made less formidable by good advice at an early stage. From our considerable experience and specialist training, we are able to provide high quality advice regarding those matters.

Our aim is to achieve a fair outcome for you with the minimum of delay avoiding unnecessary costs for you.

Whether you decide to adopt the collaborative process, mediation or negotiations between solicitors we have the tools available to help to resolve all those issues without resorting to the Court.

If it’s impossible to reach an agreement with the other party then we have considerable experience in representing clients in court proceedings should this prove necessary. We do our best (availability permitting) to see that the same solicitor represents you from start to finish of your case.

In the most complex case, we have access to and can instruct for you, specialist Barristers of the highest quality and this is something that we would discuss with you if the need arises.

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