November 11, 2015

Worthwhile or waste of time? – The Government’s new guide for divorcing couples

By Peter Jones, founder

New guidance published by the Ministry of Justice aims to help divorcing couples arrange their finances easily and provides helpful information for those supporting them.

Prepared by the Family Justice Council, the MOJ claims that its ‘Sorting out your finances when you get divorced‘ guide allows a separating couple to more clearly understand a judge’s actions when making decisions regarding finance, as well as reach fair out-of-court agreements.

The publication is comprehensive and relevant to those who are or were married or in a civil partnership. I personally welcome anything of this nature that raises public awareness of the importance of careful financial planning at any point as a positive step.

Here, a little knowledge is a very good thing: the more informed a client is, the more involved they can be in a process that they understand better.

However, clever and well-meaning though the guide is, it does have its shortcomings. For instance, I would have liked to have seen more on arbitration. As one of the country’s first arbitrators, in my experience arbitration is an alternative and more civilised alternative to court litigation – avoiding the trauma and expense of courtroom battles which can be highly public.

Family law arbitration is simple, caring, cost efficient with the same experienced arbitrator throughout the case. It has many advantages – invariably being quicker, less expensive, less daunting and emotionally draining, while helping to minimise bitterness for spouses or partners and children. Regular readers of our blog will be aware that it has always been our ethos at Jones Myers to ensure the best outcomes for children. 

The family arbitrator, who is independent, rules on your finances and who should have what. Similar to a judge, they collect relevant facts and evidence and base their decision on this evidence – taking into account the views of both parties. Their decision, known as The Award, is final and binding in both parties.

Arbitration is more efficient than court proceedings and meetings are arranged at the clients’ convenience at a mutually comfortable venue. Arbitrators are flexible – they will work around clients’ busy diaries and sit at evenings or at weekends if need be.

In a nutshell, arbitrations efficiently produces a binding solution for both parties within a sensible timeframe.

If you have any comments, queries or concerns on divorce related issues, leave a comment below, call the team at Jones Myers on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce