There are various methods to resolve a dispute between separating or divorcing couples
There are many different ways in which to resolve a dispute between separating or divorcing couples. Some couples are able to agree things between themselves, the so called ‘kitchen table agreements’. If this has been possible, you should then seek legal advice on the agreement reached and to obtain a legally binding document which reflects that agreement.
You can attend mediation – where you both meet with an independent mediator to help you reach an agreement. You will discuss your situation with the mediator and your ex-spouse or partner and hopefully agree a way forward. This is suitable where both parties are able to communicate well. It is also now, legally necessary to attend mediation before making an application to the court regarding your children or finances (except in certain circumstances, such as if you have experienced domestic violence from your ex-partner or spouse).
As you prepare for and go through mediation with your ex-spouse or partner we can provide expert legal advice to help you present your case appropriately during mediation and discuss the issues constructively. This can assist you in achieving a successful outcome through mediation, with the knowledge that your best interests have been protected throughout the process. We can recommend experienced and effective mediators in your area.
You and your lawyer work together to resolve an agreement, by corresponding with your ex-spouse or partner’s solicitor, in order to constructively negotiate a settlement. Round-table meetings with your ex-spouse or partner and their solicitors can be very effective in order to assist the negotiation and reduce the time delay that correspondence often creates. This is the traditional way in which solicitors have resolved financial agreements for their client upon separation, divorce or dissolution. It can be efficient and cost-effective for client’s, where the legal issues between you both are relatively straight-forward and there is not a high level of dispute.
Collaborative practice can be very successful for those couples who wish for an amicable outcome to their separation or divorce and to preserve their family relationships. Collaborative law involves you and your partner/spouse agreeing not to go to court. You and your solicitors agree in writing that you will both try to reach an agreement through the Collaborative process and that neither of you will make an application to the court. (If either of you went back on this agreement you would have to de-instruct your solicitor and instruct a new solicitor not previously involved in your Collaborative process – This provides the motivation for all involved to work towards a Collaborative agreement being successful).
The process involves a series of meetings between you, your solicitor, your partner/spouse and their solicitor (‘four-way meetings’), where you discuss the issues which need to be resolved between you and reach an agreement. Other professionals can be involved in the Collaborative process, depending on the needs of you both, for example a Financial Advisor, Family Therapist, Accountant or Pensions expert. These other professionals support the Collaborative process, helping you to achieve the outcome you wish, without the need to attend court.
Find out more about Collaborative practice by visiting www.resolution.org.uk/editorial.asp?page_id=53
If agreement between you and your spouse is not possible through the above methods and there are clear areas of dispute between you and your ex-spouse or partner, then as a last resort, you may need to make an application to the Court, either to resolve arrangements for your children or to have a final order in relation to the finances. The Court will set a time-table for certain evidence to be gathered and provided to the court.
Mediation is now a ‘gateway’ to making an application to the court. You will need to show that you have attended a meeting with a mediator in order to be allowed to progress the application to the court. There are certain specified circumstances (for example if you have experienced domestic violence from your ex-spouse or partner) where you may not need to attend mediation. Legal advice should be sought to ascertain whether you should attend.
If Court proceedings becomes necessary, we will work with you to prepare your case for the court hearings and provide you with all the advice and support you will need to obtain the best possible outcome. We work closely with specialist barristers, experts in family court cases, who will represent you in court. We will work with you and your barrister, as a legal team, to present your best case to the court.