We’re divorcing: how can we make our children’s wellbeing a priority?
Avoiding what can be a costly, stressful, acrimonious, prolonged, and very public divorce in Court is possible for couples whose relationship has irretrievably broken down.
Sadly, as re-enforced by a recent survey, many in this position are either unaware of, or not being offered, alternatives aimed at agreeing solutions which put the best interests of their children first.
Jones Myers is a pioneer of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – routes which focus on non-confrontational alternatives to Court.
We urge separating couples to consider the options below:
Arbitration is a private court hearing where separating couples hire an Arbitrator (‘Private Judge’) to accelerate the outcome of their financial settlement.
Similar to a judge, the Arbitrator hears the evidence from the couple, collects relevant facts, and base
s their decision on the evidence, taking into account the views of both.
Couples have the same Arbitrator through the process – something which will rarely happen at Court where different Judges are often involved at different stages of the proceedings.
The Arbitrator makes an Award over who should have what – which is final and binding.
Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative Family Law offers a respectful and dignified solution which is conducted privately and confidentially and puts children at the heart of the process.
Here a “no court” agreement is signed at the beginning of the process which sets out a shared commitment to finding an agreed resolution.
Each person appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer and, in a series of meetings, the couple and their lawyers work together to identify, address and resolve the issues between them.
Accountants, independent financial advisers or other experts can also attend the sessions if required, providing useful advice and information on a neutral basis which can be key to finding agreed outcomes.
A qualified Mediator helps couples to discuss issues confidentially and find workable agreements more quickly and cost effectively than the Court process.
The couple sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate’ to enable negotiation to continue on a ‘without prejudice’ basis.
Agreed arrangements are approved on paper by a Judge and made legally binding. The process can be completed in as many or as few meetings as are required to reach agreed proposals.
We have recently written about a Government’s cash boost which will help more families benefit from publicly funded family mediation and they can apply for the scheme.
Going to Court (litigation) can be emotionally stressful, taking many months and not infrequently more than a year. The Covid-19 pandemic has made the process even longer.
If you are unable to agree, a judge who doesn’t know you or your spouse decides how your financial assets will be divided and how much time you will spend with your children. Their decision is legally binding
Our lawyers’ unique expertise and qualifications enable us to offer alternatives which help to minimise the fallout from a separation and put your children’s future happiness and wellbeing at the heart of an agreed solution.