Non Court Dispute Resolution (formerly ADR)
Divorce and other family law battles which reach the courts can often be unnecessarily expensive and stressful compared to other solutions. One of the most progressive first steps in tackling these legal processes is for a couple to take a civilised approach in agreeing terms. Non-Court Dispute Resolution or what used to be called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), can reduce time and cost due to increased privacy and the avoidance of protracted court proceedings.
The success rate in reaching out of court agreements is generally high, the time required to reach a solution and also the legal costs incurred are, on average, less than pursuing a Court-based route. These methods can also help to avoid rifts between parties as direct communication can help them work together in the future, which is important when children and other family members are involved in the relationship.
Arbitration can be used to sort out both financial and property issues and also arrangements for children. If both parties are willing, they can agree to engage in the arbitration process in which a nominated arbitrator will make decisions concerning the matters in dispute. Arbitration can be used to resolve wide ranging issues such a divorce settlement or can determine narrower issues such as maintenance variation or particular matters that are otherwise preventing an overall agreement being reached. It is therefore useful in the mediation and collaborative law processes to help resolve a particular issue which is preventing further discussions. The process is a bit like the court process but because it is directly funded by the parties involved, it is not in the public domain so it is private and a conclusion can be reached far more quickly. You will also have an arbitrator who is a specialist in family law.
Unlike arbitration in which an arbitrator decides on matters which you cannot other wise agree, the process of mediation is all about trying to find ways to reach agreement. The mediator will help you to firstly identify what the issues are, then guide you towards finding solutions through face to face discussions. You will meet in a neutral and safe environment and your discussions will progress at a pace that you are comfortable with and that is not imposed on you. The offers that are exchanged in the mediation process are “without prejudice” i.e. they are private and cannot be reported to the Court. The intention is to encourage openness and a willingness to negotiate. Once an understanding has been reached that could be confirmed as a final agreement whether it relates to financial arrangements or children arrangements, the mediator will then help to draw up a formal agreement working with your solicitors by informing them of the outcome of the discussions.
Collaborative family law
This process focuses on reaching agreement and with the best interests of the family at the forefront of discussions. Both parties and their solicitors have a series of four-way meetings and all commit to reaching solutions by agreement rather than through court. Face-to-face communication between the parties can help to reduce costs and enable you to better work together in the future. Some benefits of the collaborative process are that you and your partner have worked together to reach an agreement that works for your family, you have the support of your lawyers every step of the way and they can immediately prepare the necessary paperwork to finalise the agreement reached.
Read more about our arbitration, mediation and collaborative family law services at the below links:
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