Going to court can be highly stressful - and we understand this. We're known both nationally and internationally for our genuine commitment to alternative dispute resolution options that can keep your divorce out of court.
Not all divorces need to go to court. There could be a viable option for couples who want a more amicable approach to agreeing the terms of their divorce. Disagreements about finances, property, pensions and children can be emotionally fraught and highly stressful. Sometimes it's necessary for a judge to make a decision. More often than not though there's a more constructive, cost-effective alternative.
Out of court options have traditionally been known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) but they're now more mainstream so we increasingly use Non-Court Dispute Resolution (NCDR) or simply Dispute Resolution (DR). The main DR options are:
Family mediation: Mediation keeps decisions about children and finances in your hands. The mediator is impartial, acting as a referee and managing the process. Mediators can give legal information but not advice.
Collaborative practice/law: Collaborative discussions take place in a series of meetings. You're both supported throughout by your own independent collaborative lawyer with everyone working together to help you reach an agreement.
Arbitration: Family arbitration is effectively private judging. Unlike with mediation or collaborative options, the decision about any dispute is made for you, but the process is a lot more flexible and quicker than going to court. The arbitrator's decision is binding.
Negotiation: If there is anything that you and your partner cannot agree about negotiation will be involved, whether you're mediating, in collaborative meetings, at court or in arbitration.
We will listen to and work with you to find the best way forward. We recognise that there’s nearly always a wider picture, particularly if you have children and know from experience that it's parental conflict rather than the divorce itself that can be most damaging for children. A court battle nearly always increases that conflict and makes it much more difficult for parents to maintain the best relationship they can with their children during the divorce and in the years to come.
That’s why we place such importance on avoiding court, whether we're advising you on issues specifically relating to the children or dealing with the financial consequences of your separation. And it's why so many of our family law experts have trained as mediators, collaborative practitioners and arbitrators. No other major family and children team can match this commitment.
We stand out from the crowd when it comes to helping you choose the approach that is best for you and your family. Sometimes that will need to be court, but we'll do everything we can to reduce hostility during your divorce, encourage communication and get the right outcome for you.
To help you to communicate effectively when resolving disputes, we've partnered with iMA Strategies to identify which communication and engagement style you have.
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