Family

Separation & Divorce:

The end of a relationship can be a very difficult time. Handled sensitively, the legal process of divorce can be relatively simple.We can guide you through the process, ensuring that it is not more painful than it needs to be. There are many issues relating to divorce and separation, which need to be considered carefully. Further information can be found throughout this website. There are also some further resources which you may find helpful, listed below: www.resolution.org.uk/advice_centre – support and information regarding separation www.gov.uk/divorce/overview – information about the process of divorce/separation.

Ways of resolving matters:

There are several different ways in which family law disputes can be resolved. At Family Law Associates we are pleased to be able to offer our clients a wide range of options to help them deal with their family law matters in addition to traditional negotiation between solicitors (which can take place through correspondence or in a series of meetings) or the court process . Some information about the different processes available is provided below and all of these can be discussed further at an initial meeting.

Mediation

Family mediation is a process in which those involved in family breakdown, whether or not they are a couple or other family members, appoint an impartial third person to assist them to better communicate with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions concerning some, or all, of the issues relating to separation, divorce, children, finance or property by negotiation (Family Mediation Council). One of the aims of mediation is to assist participants to communicate with one another, both now and in the future, and to reduce dispute and conflict within the family. Many people who have gone through the mediation process find this a real benefit to themselves and their family. Our mediators are able to offer mediation using two different mediation models; either a single solicitor-mediator, or using co-mediators (where one of the mediators will have a non-legal professional background to reflect the fact that there are more than just legal issues within families).

Arbitration:

Arbitration is a process tailored around the parties to a dispute but it is based on the principles of English law and it delivers a binding decision. The parties to a dispute are able to define the issues to be determined in arbitration. The decision would then be made by an agreed arbitrator, in accordance with the law. There are several benefits of using arbitration instead of making an application to court. The parties themselves are able to select their arbitrator (or have one selected for them if they cannot agree) and it is this arbitrator who will see their case through to its conclusion. In court, it is extremely rare for a case to be heard by the same judge at different hearings and this can sometimes lead to an inconsistent approach. The process is usually much quicker than making an application to court as it only needs to fit around the diaries of the arbitrator and the parties, rather than only progressing when the court can offer a hearing date. An arbitrator would need to be paid for privately and there are, of course, several instances where this may not be possible. However if it seems as though a court application is necessary, it could well be cost-effective to opt for arbitration, even with the parties having to meet the cost of the arbitrator. The process is also highly useful where there are complex legal issues which need to be resolved and this cannot be done in mediation or through negotiation. In some cases, a binding decision needs to be made by someone other than the parties: either a judge or an arbitrator.

The Finances:

The financial issues arising from divorce are always important and can be complex. It is essential that you are fully aware of your options from an early stage. We will provide you with realistic advice to help you reach decisions about your future. There are often many issues that need to be considered including where you will live, maintenance, pensions, what to do with a family business or how to pay the school fees. We can advise and assist with all of these issues, using specialist financial advisors where necessary.

We will do all we can to ensure that you can reach agreements swiftly where possible. If it necessary to use the court process to resolve financial disputes we will navigate you through calmly, efficiently and, if required, with vigour.

Sometimes it is necessary to act quickly and we are on hand to secure your position swiftly when required.

Mediation or collaborative law can be useful processes in helping separating couples reach agreements on all issues, and we offer these services to help you retain control of your finances and your future. The following links provide further information and guidance on these issues although tailored legal advice is usually essential and always helpful:
www.gov.uk/child-support-agency – information about child maintenance

www.resolution.org.uk/advice_centre – support and information regarding separation

www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends – general information regarding finances 

www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk – useful tools and information.