Non-Court/Out of Court Family Dispute Resolutions
Unfortunately, more often than not, when a marriage or civil partnership breaks down, both parties will often find it difficult to come to a mutual and amicable agreement between themselves. Where divorce or family law disputes arise they often end up in court, leading to stress and expense for all involved. However, there are other ways to resolve a dispute without going through the courts; alternative dispute resolution (or ADR) can significantly reduce the financial cost and time spent on finding a resolution.
There are a number of different types of out of court resolutions, which can help parties to reach mutual agreements over issues such as the fair division of finances or property, or disputes over issues relating to children and their living arrangements and maintenance. Many cases could easily be resolved without a court hearing, and we believe that where suitable can lead to a much smoother outcome with several benefits.
Each method is different, and it is important to make sure that you use the most appropriate resolution for your situation. At Clifford Johnston & Co we have a team of experts who are committed to helping clients to separate as calmly and without friction as far as is possible, resolving issues out of court wherever this is achievable. Our aim is to enable parties to work together wherever possible, reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.
If you are involved in a family law dispute and are unsure of the best way to resolve your issues, talk to us. One of our team will listen to you and will determine the best and most appropriate method of resolution available to you based on your personal circumstances.
Mediation is a process of negotiation designed to help two parties to find a satisfactory resolution to their issues. They are assisted by mediators who can offer advice and solutions, and the courts tend to look favourably on couples who use mediation.
When you choose mediation, you and your partner will meet with a mediator in a safe, neutral space. A mediator will help you to identify the issues and will then help you to work through them, offering potential solutions. The mediator cannot impose solutions, but will direct you towards an agreement that is acceptable to both of you. Once a settlement is reached, the mediator will draw up a formal agreement. Clifford Johnston & Co employ several mediators who can help you to work through your issues without going to court, saving you time, money and stress.
Collaborative law is another method of alternative dispute resolution that can be used in family law disputes to avoid going through the courts. Like mediation, the aim of collaborative law is to reach an agreement that both parties find acceptable. The difference is that rather than working with one neutral mediator, both parties have their own legal advisor who will advise and support them personally throughout the negotiation process. Each party signs an agreement committing to negotiate in good faith and not to use the court process unless mutually agreed. You then work through a series of face-to-face meetings with the support of your legal advisor, enlisting the help of other experts where necessary, (such as accountants, family consultants or independent financial advisors) depending on the nature of the dispute.
Arbitration is a type of alternative resolution process which can be useful when parties cannot agree on either a single issue, or multiple issues relating to family law and relationship breakdowns. It is a relatively flexible process, giving you the option to choose the arbitrator you feel will best be able to assist you, and offering choice over the times and locations of the meetings. The arbitrator will hear both sides of the dispute and will then make a final and binding decision; they can do this in relation to a range of issues that arise following separation and divorce, including disputes over finances and children’s welfare or maintenance. Arbitration can save a lot of time, compared with the delays clients are facing to go through the family courts, and are therefore an increasingly popular and cost-effective and confidential method of dispute resolution. If you are wondering whether arbitration is the right approach for you, speak to one of our experts who offer this service – they will be able to guide you through the process.
A private FDR or Financial Dispute Resolution is where both parties, who are unable to reach a resolution to their disputes otherwise, pay for a financial specialist to act as a private FDR judge. You are able to appoint the judge of your choice and can choose the date and location of the FDR.
Whilst similar to the court process, where both parties’ legal representatives will present their arguments, private FDRs tend to be a more relaxed process where negotiations will hopefully lead to an agreement on the day. When an agreement is reached, it can be drawn up, signed and approved immediately, saving a huge amount of time, and often money due to the speed of the process.
How can Clifford Johnston & Co help?
At Clifford Johnston & Co, we understand the complexity and emotional stress that comes with the separation of a partnership or a marriage, and we are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients to resolve their family law disputes as effectively and painlessly as possible, avoiding court proceedings wherever we can. In the long run, we believe that skilful negotiation is key to resolving disputes and we put the best interests of the family at the forefront of everything that we do.
We have a team of trained professionals who can help you to settle your dispute out of court wherever possible. There may be certain cases that cannot be dealt with by alternative dispute resolution methods. Where this is the case we can also offer guidance and representation, but on the whole we have an excellent record of helping out clients to reach effective agreements via non-court resolution methods.
We regularly help local families find a resolution to the their disputes through alternative methods to save the stress and costs of court.
Our friendly team will deal with your enquiry sensitively and with understanding, so contact us today for helpful and supportive advice.
Our Out of Court Resolution Solicitors are based at both of our offices and their vast experience makes them an integral part of our team of Family Solicitors in Stockport & in Manchester.
With offices in Stockport (Heaton Moor) & Manchester (Burnage), our expert family solicitors are easily accessible. We represent clients not only locally and throughout Stockport, Cheshire, Lancashire & Manchester but also across the United Kingdom. You can count on us to help and guide you whatever your challenge or circumstance.