Alternatives to court in divorce and Separation
Posted: Saturday February 8 2020
By: Anthony Ball
Deciding to divorce or separate from your partner can feel overwhelming and frightening. It makes the start of what can be a series of very difficult decisions you will be required to make that will impact the rest of your life. One of the most significant, yet often overlooked, is deciding from the outset which process is going to be the best for you and your family.
Alternatives to court in divorce
Antony Ball, Legal Director at leading Yorkshire Law Firm Keebles LLP, advises:
Like many experiencing divorce or separation for the first time, you may not be aware of the range of options available. Most naturally assume that where there is disagreement regarding the sharing of assets or arrangements for children the court has to step in. Many do not realise or otherwise appreciate the lasting damage litigation can have both financially and emotionally and the alternate methods that are now available for resolving these disputes.
Below is an overview of the options available to help make an informed decision. The options are not necessarily mutually exclusive and can be worked through sequentially:
Mediation involves an impartial third person who will work with the two of you, in order to help you reach your own agreed and informed decisions about some or all of the issues relating to or arising from your separation.
The process is designed to encourage couples to voice their opinions and reach a balanced settlement in a safe, neutral environment.
The benefits compared to litigation are lower costs and a higher chance of reaching a balanced agreement that is acceptable to both of you. Agreements that are acceptable to both are more likely to last and can simplify both life during and after separation.
Both parties still retain their solicitor to offer advice regarding any agreement reached before steps are taken to formalise it. Even if the mediator is also a lawyer, both parties should still have independent legal advice to make sure they fully understand the legal ramifications of the agreement they have arrived at.
Mediation can be a great choice for those willing to negotiate and wanting to bypass lengthy and costly litigation.