There are a number of alternative options to bringing about a resolution to financial claims arising from divorce. The best way for you will depend on your individual circumstances, but there can be real benefits to alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.
Mediation is an option for those separating couples who want to work together to reach an agreement about finances or children matters but are not able to deal with those discussions by themselves.
Mediation is a voluntary process, the mediator is chosen by you both and is neutral and therefore cannot give advice to either of you. The mediator will encourage both parties to seek independent legal advice to discuss particular legal issues or the range of settlement options, both parties are then encouraged to return to the mediation process. The mediator is there to encourage you both to discuss and explore settlement options.
Read more about the Divorce Mediation process.
Family Law arbitration was launched in 2012 by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators to enable family financial disputes to be dealt with by arbitration.
Arbitration is a process to which both parties sign an agreement confirming that the arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding. Arbitration can only be discontinued if both parties agree this and the arbitrator replaced only by agreement of both parties or order of the court. The grounds for securing such an order are limited.
The identity of the arbitrator is agreed by both parties and once the arbitrator is appointed they will have a wide discretion and significant powers to manage the case. The arbitrator can therefore decide procedural matters such as what evidence is provided, the appointment of any experts and the questions to be put to the experts and the arbitrator can also make interim awards such as interim maintenance.
When determining the issue of financial provision it will be with reference to the laws of England and Wales, as it is in the courts.
Arbitration is an option for those separating couples who cannot reach an agreement and know that a third party decision is required but they want to avoid the delay of court proceedings.
Underpinning the collaborative law process is a written agreement in which you and your former partner commit to reaching an agreement and settling matters without going to court. Both of you along with your solicitors will work together to bring about an agreement. This is a process that minimises correspondence, as negotiations and important decisions take place in what are called 4 way meetings.
Read more about the Collaborative Divorce process.