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.


Alternatives To Divorce – Collaborative Law

This process often engages a team of professionals to help resolve the issues that arise upon separation. The process brings together a tailored team of experts including specially trained collaborative lawyers, financial advisers, counsellors and where necessary life coaches to help families through the challenging process of separation with the shared intention of arriving at the best possible outcome for the family.

The process can be a very effective approach to separation as professionals are immediately on hand to assist with issues as they will inevitably arise during the meetings. The diverse perspectives provided by the team members helps to ensure a fair and respectful settlement process.


When all else fails you may wish to consider arbitration. Although it will remove the task of decision-making from you and place it in the hands of a neutral third person, the Arbitrator, it can be much quicker than litigation. The Arbitrator can also be asked to settle quite discrete issues in circumstances where everything else may otherwise have been resolved.

# Alternatives to court in divorce