I’m getting divorced and want to avoid court – how can an Arbitrator help?

An increasing number of couples looking to avoid a lengthy, expensive and public divorce in court are turning to arbitration where an Arbitrator, also referred to as a private judge, decides the outcome of divorce settlements.   

Jones Myers founder, Peter Jones, was one of the country’s first arbitrators when this option was introduced in 2012 to resolve differences on financial and property matters. In 2016 the scheme was extended to include disputes relating to children.

Based on our extensive experience, here are some key questions to help decide if arbitration is right for you.    

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is in practical terms a private court designed to resolve the financial issues between the parties. You and your ex appoint an Arbitrator of your choice – based on their matrimonial knowledge and experience.

Arbitration preserves your privacy in contrast to going to court when your future is determined by a judge, who is unknown to you. Another element in the court process which can cause considerable concern is the fact that it enables the media to attend and report on your case.    

What does the arbitrator do?

Arbitrators are independent and impartial third parties who have read all the information and fully understand the issues. After listening to all the evidence and the representations made on your behalf, the Arbitrator will then make an award – which is similar to the court order but more comprehensive – and which is final.  

The “hearing” will be at a venue agreed between you, often an office with sufficient conference facilities. At this session the Arbitrator listens to the relevant facts and evidence and, after considering your individual views, makes a binding ruling, known as an award.  

Can I appeal against the award? 

You can only appeal against the award in the most exceptional circumstances – i.e. if the Arbitrator misunderstood the law. No appeal is permitted on the basis that you did not like the result.

How long do arbitration cases take to resolve? 

Going through arbitration is considerably faster than going to court and offers you and your ex a more flexible and convenient timetable. This speedier process also assists in reducing the level of stress and the financial costs.

What qualifications does an arbitrator have?

Family Law Arbitrators have been trained and qualified pursuant to the standards of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators of which they are members.  They are invariably experienced family lawyers who are former judges or family law barristers or solicitors. Peter Jones, a former Deputy District Judge, is qualified to arbitrate on cases including financial and property disputes, the break-up of civil partnerships or disputes between cohabitating couples whose relationships have ended.

For information on arbitration or any aspect of family law, call Jones Myers at our Leeds office on 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office on 01423 276104, or our York office on 01904 202550 or visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

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