There are a number of options available for resolving disputes, and relatively few couples need to resort to court proceedings for a judge to determine the settlement.

All couples wishing to issue court proceedings in relation to financial matters or children are now required to consider whether mediation would be appropriate to resolve the dispute. However, there are a number of approaches you may wish to consider.

We offer a range of solutions and will help you to decide which method of resolution is best for you. The approach we take will vary depending on how well you can communicate with your spouse, whether there are children involved and the complexity of your financial situation. Whichever method you decide is best for you, it is important that any agreement reached is formalised into a court order.

1. Solicitor negotiation

Separating couples often find it difficult to deal with matters face to face when emotions are running high. You may prefer to each meet with your own independent solicitor who will provide you with legal advice and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Your solicitor will help you to achieve your objectives and focus on the important considerations.

2. Collaborative Law

Several members of our team are trained in Collaborative Law, which is a method of conflict resolution working outside the court system and seeking to achieve a ‘good divorce’. Please click here for further information on obtaining a divorce via the collaborative process. It can also be used for resolving other disputes between you and your partner.

3. Family arbitration

In this method of conflict resolution, a third party, known as an arbitrator, is asked to make a decision about the appropriate settlement of finances, either in relation to the whole claim or a single issue. In many ways, this process is similar to a judge making an order, but arbitration offers the option of resolving matters confidentially and is often quicker and more cost effective than going to court. The decision of the arbitrator, known as the ‘award’, is final and binding on the parties.

4. Private FDR

The Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (FDR) is an important stage in proceedings where a judge expresses their view on what would be a likely outcome of a dispute in order to help the parties reach settlement. Due to the increasing pressures on the court system which cause delay, and the fact that hearings are public, more people are preferring to opt for a private FDR, where they can choose who evaluates the matter, such as an experienced barrister. Please contact a member of our team for more information regarding this.

5. Family mediation

This involves both parties meeting with a neutral and impartial mediator, who will assist them to negotiate a solution by facilitating discussion and identifying potential solutions. A mediator cannot impose a decision on the parties, but helps couples reach their own resolution. This is often effective where children are involved and it is important that channels of communication remain open. We can help record agreement reached at mediation into a legally binding agreement.

6. Resolving matters directly

Sometimes separating couples are able to reach a settlement directly between themselves, particularly where they are able to communicate well or their finances are relatively straightforward. However, we strongly advise that you arrange a meeting with a solicitor to check that you have not missed anything. It is important that agreement reached is formalised into a legally binding agreement, and we often assist couples to record their agreement by way of a consent order. 

"Howes Percival LLP is ‘friendly and approachable, yet highly professional’."
- Legal 500

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