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Family Law

How A Resolution Divorce Solicitor Can Help You

Discover how a Resolution-accredited solicitor can help you get divorced quicker and with less cost and stress. Find out more here...

How A Resolution Divorce Solicitor Can Help You

Why So Many Couples Split Up In January

January is said to be the most common month for divorce – with speculation that this January will be even busier with the long-overdue introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022.

For couples on the brink, the pressure of Christmas can be the final straw. In addition the current cost of living crisis sadly is heaping pressure on couples.

At Coles Miller, the January peak is less pronounced because our divorce solicitors experience high demand all year round – though we’re never too busy to help.

How To Make Your Divorce Quicker, Easier, Cheaper And Less Painful

Avoid going to court – there are much easier ways to get divorced, notably mediation. It pays to instruct a solicitor accredited by Resolution, formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association.

Resolution represents more than 6,500 family law professionals – including divorce solicitors from Coles Miller. As Resolution members, our aim is:

  • to promote a constructive and non-confrontational approach to resolving family law matters
  • to improve the legal system for the benefit of families.

We follow a code of practice that encourages a non-confrontational approach, and to work with clients to resolve issues in a constructive way – without going to court whenever possible. Instead, we encourage separating couples use methods such as negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration to resolve their issues.

What Is Mediation And How Can It Help Me?

Mediation is a proven way to resolve financial matters without going to court. It has been so successful that is now mandatory for all divorcing couples to be offered the opportunity to explore mediation as an alternative to a courtroom divorce.

The mediation process involves a neutral third party helping the couple come to an agreement on issues related to the divorce, such as property division and children arrangements. This can be less expensive and more amicable than going to court.

Choosing mediation instead of going to court means that you remain in control of the process at all times. You – rather than a judge – will take decisions about what will happen to you and your family.

As well as offering mediation to couples, Coles Miller is also able to act as mediators in divorces handled by other law firms.

Other Forms Of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

  • Collaborative Law – both parties and their solicitors work together to reach a settlement without going to court.
  • Arbitration – a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, makes a binding decision on the dispute after hearing evidence from both parties.
  • Early Neutral Evaluation – a neutral third party (an ENE evaluator) provides a non-binding assessment of the case to help the parties reach a settlement.

These forms of ADR are not mutually exclusive – they can be used in combination.

Benefits And Disadvantages Of Collaborative Law In Divorce

Some of the benefits of collaborative law include:

  • Cost – collaborative law can often be less expensive than traditional court proceedings, as the parties are able to reach a settlement without the need for multiple court appearances.
  • Preservation of relationships – collaborative law allows the parties to maintain a level of communication and respect during the process. This can be beneficial for any children involved and for any future interactions you may have with your former partner.
  • Tailored solutions – collaborative law allows the parties to craft a settlement that is tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • Limited control – collaborative law relies on the parties working together to reach a settlement. This can be difficult if one party is unwilling to compromise.
  • Limited enforceability – collaborative law agreements can only be legally binding if they are approved by the court. This may not always happen.
  • If the process fails then the parties will have to instruct new solicitors.

Pros And Cons Of Arbitration In Divorce

Arbitration is better known for employment law disputes. (You’ve probably heard of Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.) But arbitration can also be used in divorce. Here are the benefits:

  • Speed – arbitration can often be faster than traditional court proceedings because the parties are able to present their case to the arbitrator more quickly. (Other forms of ADR can also be faster than going to court.)
  • Cost-effective – arbitration can be less expensive than traditional court proceedings, as the parties do not need to pay for multiple court appearances.
  • Expertise – arbitrators are often experts in a specific area of the law. This can be beneficial if the divorce case involves complex financial or legal issues.
  • Privacy – like other forms of ADR, and most Family Court proceedings, arbitration takes place in private. This can be beneficial for those who wish to keep the details of their divorce out of the public eye.

However, disadvantages include:

  • You have limited control over the outcome – and the arbitrator’s decision is binding (unless you have opted for non-binding arbitration).
  • Limited legal recourse – there is little you can do if you’re unhappy with the arbitrator’s legally binding decision.
  • Limited representation – you may not be able to have legal representation during the arbitration process if you can’t afford it.
  • Limited enforceability – arbitration agreements can be binding only if they are approved by the court. This may not always happen, although this is a technical point so specialist legal advice is recommended.

Early Neutral Evaluation In Divorce

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is not as common as other forms of ADR such as mediation but it is used in some cases as a way of helping the parties to reach a settlement without going to court.

ENE can be used at any stage of the proceedings. It is often used to resolve issues such as financial or property disputes. It tends to be used in cases where the parties are willing to reach a settlement and have already attempted other forms of ADR such as mediation.

ENE is also not mandatory but it can be recommended by the court.

Overall, ENE is not widely used in England and Wales, but it can be a useful tool in some cases to help the parties reach a settlement.

Some of the benefits of ENE in divorce cases include:

  • Speed – or rather it minimises the amount of further time needed. If ENE has been recommended, it may be because other forms of ADR have not succeeded. ENE can help to break the logjam; it helps the parties to overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles in the negotiation process.
  • Cost-effective – like other forms of ADR, ENE can be less expensive because it saves going to court (or reduces the amount of time spent in court).
  • Expertise – like arbitrators, ENE evaluators are often experts in key areas of the law.
  • Privacy – ENE proceedings take place in private.
  • Non-binding – the parties are free to accept or reject the evaluation.

The disadvantages are similar to other areas of ADR: limited control, limited legal representation, limited enforceability and recourse.

Before considering any options (ADR or court), it is always recommended to speak with a family law specialist to see what is best for your situation.

Further Reading

Get Expert Legal Help

Our expert team of divorce solicitors is led by Coles Miller Partner Richard Perrins, whose specialisms include divorce, separation, dissolution of civil partnerships, children arrangements, resolving finances, surrogacy, fertility law, cohabitation and separation agreements, mediation and dispute resolution. He is based at our Broadstone office.

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