My divorce is dragging on due to court delays – what can I do?

17 September 2020 | Written by Jones Myers

The Citizen’s Advice charity has reported a substantial rise in divorce guidance searches following the lockdown.

This hike re-enforces wider predictions of a surge in divorce with the stringent measures testing even the most robust relationships.

The pressures on couples and families following the Covid-19 Pandemic reflect the increase in enquiries we have experienced from clients asking how they go about divorce proceedings.

The situation has been further exacerbated by significant hold ups in court proceedings which have prompted a Commons enquiry into addressing delays and clearing the backlog of cases.  

If you are looking to separate in the current climate, we advise you consider the following alternatives which avoid a lengthy court process and, if successful, could be resolved within 4-6 months.

Mediation

Mediation can help couples resolve their differences and find solutions which enable them to move forward positively. An impartial third party “the mediator” helps them discuss issues confidentially and find workable agreements. The potential benefits are many: agreements can be reached a great deal more quickly and cost effectively than by using the court process or in solicitors’ correspondence. Ongoing communication also limits the emotional damage which follows in the wake of an acrimonious battle.

Collaborative Law

As with family mediation, Collaborative Law avoids Court proceedings and other adversarial approaches to settlement. A “no court” agreement is signed at the beginning of the process so that there is a shared commitment to finding an agreed resolution. The process can work for any couple, whether there are modest means or in higher value or complex situations. The interests of any children are put at the forefront of discussions.  

Arbitration

In family Arbitration, couples appoint an arbitrator who will make decisions for them. The process enables the couples to resolve disputes in a more flexible and less formal setting.

There is also the benefit of having the same Arbitrator through the process which will not happen at Court with Judges and the knowledge that your Arbitrator is an expert in financial remedy proceedings. Again, this isn’t always the case with a Judge at Court as they may have backgrounds in other areas of law.

Jones Myers family lawyers are highly experienced in the above processes and include partner Nicki Mitchell, a skilled mediator and collaborative family lawyer. Norman Taylor is a collaborative family law expert who also has extensive expertise in this area.

Our firm’s founder Peter Jones was among the country’s first Arbitrators qualified to arbitrate on financial and property disputes and the break-up of civil partnerships or disputes between cohabitating couples whose relationships have ended.

We recommend taking advice from a specialist family lawyer such as Jones Myers as early as possible to ensure you choose the best option for your individual situation.

For queries on divorce or family law, call is at Leeds on 0113 246 0055, Harrogate on 01423 276104, or York on 01904 202550. Visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

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