Divorce Out of Court: Which option works best for you?
The separation process can be a very emotional time and often the thought of going to court can be just a little bit too much to bear.
But worry not, as there are many other alternate options for you to use:
Option 1: Mediation
Mediation is a way for you and your ex-partner to work things out together with the help of a third party who will remain unbiased. It is often thought that mediation is a form of couples counselling, however this is a very common misconception and is most definitely not the case. Instead, the goal of mediation is to narrow down any disputes and come to a solution that is both fair and agreeable for both parties.
During mediation you and your ex-partner will discuss between yourself, with the help of a mediator, any of your issues such as children, money, or any other consequences of separation, that will ultimately need to be resolved in order for you both to move forward. The number of mediation sessions needed differs per couple and depends solely on your own requirements.
Many find mediation to be a more practical way of handling divorce and separation as it reduces levels of hostility and allows matters to remain more private. It also gives couples the opportunity to discuss problems face-to-face in a more constructive way.
Option 2: Collaborative Divorce
In collaborative divorce you and your ex-partner are able to work through the issues that you need resolving with both of your solicitors alongside you at every meeting.
You’ll both meet with each of your solicitors, in a four-way meeting in the same room. This provides the opportunity for you to discuss your own particular situation and try to reach compromises that both parties can be happy with. It gives you the opportunity to make decisions about finances, property, and childcare together to ensure the best results for both of you. It is a process in which you and your spouse/partner are in control.
You will be able to pick which topics that you would like to focus on. You will also have to option to include other professionals such as child specialists or pension advisors.
Like mediation, collaborative divorce is a private way of handling your divorce proceedings without the need to go to court. In the beginning, each party signs an agreement which declares your commitment to resolving the issues.
Collaborative law is a great way to reach agreements efficiently. The structured settings encourage trust, objectivity in negotiations and reduces stress, anxiety and frustration.
Option 3: Family Arbitration
Family arbitration is a form of dispute resolution where you and your ex-partner can appoint an ‘arbitrator’ who will be able to mediate discussions, draw conclusions, and make an overruling decision known as an ‘award’.
This process is a way of reaching important decisions about finances, property or children should you and your ex-partner be unable to sort things out between yourselves or through another form of dispute resolution.
It is important to note that once you and your ex-partner begin the arbitration process you cannot back out without the others agreement.
Arbitration is a useful method to use as an alternative to going to court. It is also more cost-effective than going to court. By being allowed to choose your own arbitrator means that you are able to pick someone who is best suited for you and will be able to deal with your specific circumstances. In addition to this, arbitration is very confidential, flexible, and sometimes a quicker method of resolving issues.
A constructive approach to family law
The GL Law family team are committed to resolving relationship disputes in a constructive way. James Myatt is a Resolution trained specialist in Collaborative Family Law and is on hand to support clients through their divorce or separation journey.