November 29, 2013

Divorce options: poll reveals public misconception about alternatives to court

A new poll reveals the alarming fact that many people still believe that divorce must involve court – and this despite government efforts and funding to promote alternative options.

In the ‘Christmas Stress Factor’ poll commissioned by Resolution only one in two people (51 percent) said they would consider options other than court if they were to divorce a partner, despite the fact that non-court solutions may save on time, money and anguish.

Resolution, a group of over 6,500 family lawyers and professionals in England and Wales, including Jones Myers, announced the poll findings as part of Family Dispute Resolution Week. The organisation promotes a non-confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family disputes, including mediation, collaboration and arbitration, rather than litigation through the courts, or the risky “DIY Divorce” option.

We have written about the alternatives to court on our blog before, however as part of our ‘back to basics’ campaign – and in the light of these latest figures from Resolution – here is a reminder of  the five methods of divorcing.


At Jones Myers LLP we are committed to using dispute resolution to minimise the stress and costs associated with relationship breakdown. Divorce mediation offers a highly effective way for both parties to discuss, agree and resolve issues. An impartial, experienced mediator will help the couple come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. This approach avoids both parties taking a confrontational stance in a public court which could impact on any children involved in the divorce proceedings. Mediation also gives the couple control over their divorce as they are making the important decisions.

Collaborative Divorce

Jones Myers LLP is committed and experienced in this approach which provides a smooth and civilised process for couples to achieve an amicable separation. In a collaborative divorce both parties, together with their lawyers, are involved in negotiations through face-to-face meetings. When appropriate, additional professional advisers, such as accountants and counsellors can also be brought in to the discussions.

Family Arbitration

If during the course of the previous two methods of dispute resolutions discrete issues become contentious, couples can use arbitration to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently, without recourse to the courts. Arbitrators act as ‘informal judges’ and because they are in private practice are more readily available and prepared to sit outside conventional court times. Arbitration is also cheaper because it is not subject to as many delays as the court process. As one of more than 40 specially trained family lawyers appointed as arbitrators in the UK, I am proud to be at the frontline of a ground breaking development in family law.


When compared to the dispute resolution process, recourse to a lengthy, public, adversarial and expensive court action has little to recommend it. Couples will find a judge who knows very little about them and their family will make the final decisions – on children, property, money, and ultimately how each party will live their life going forward. There is surely no better argument than this for collaborative family law when it comes to matters of divorce.


Couples who believe the DIY option will be cheaper, quicker and problem-free because they avoid a court process are mistaken as they often spell disaster. The unnecessary trauma of court proceedings can be avoided through seeking the advice of an experience collaborative family lawyer and will protect a couple from making the potentially costly and irreversible mistakes associated with DIY divorce.

If you’re looking to resolve relationship challenges in a civilised manner, speak to one of our team  – you can call us at Jones Myers LLP on 0113 246 0055, comment below or drop us an e-mail. You can now follow us on Twitter @helpwithdivorce