Mediation, collaborative approach and arbitration
In this section we look at processes for settling matters with a partner or spouse without using a court.
A relationship breakdown is an extremely stressful and difficult time and we have a strong network of divorce coaches, counsellors and family consultants to help and support you through a divorce or separation.
For more information and to make an appointment at our Southampton office please contact Debra Emery.
For Richmond and City appointments please contact Jan Galloway.
Download our mediation referral form here.
Mediation is a voluntary process entered into by a couple before, during or sometimes after a divorce or separation. The mediator, who is often an experienced family law solicitor, is instructed by a couple jointly and on a completely neutral basis to facilitate discussions between them with a view to agreeing outcomes typically for children and finances.
The mediator can give legal information but is not able to give legal advice to either of the couple. That is the role of solicitors who the couple separately retain to work alongside and in tandem with the mediator.
Typically, mediation might take place across two to five sessions, depending on the nature and complexity of the matters under consideration. We can help you prepare for and advise you between mediation sessions as to any legal points arising and to generally help and assist you in progressing this process.
Mediation can be a cost effective approach since the couple typically shares the cost of the mediator between them, although they would remain responsible for the costs of their own independent solicitors' advice separately.
The collaborative approach is where both of you and your respective solicitors engage together in a number of face to face meetings to help settle points between you, typically involving the children and finances. As solicitors we will give you both 'real time' legal advice, practical help and guidance within these meetings, which are intended to be informal and constructive so that different options can be openly explored in a safe and facilitated environment.
If you and your partner are struggling to reach an agreed outcome you may want to consider using arbitration as an alternative to going to court. As a couple you can choose the arbitrator who acts as a 'judge'. The benefit of arbitration over a court process is that you will always have the same 'judge'. you can choose the timing of the process to suit you (rather than a court schedule), and you know that you will be heard at a given time on an appointed date, rather than being made to wait in the court precinct.
The decision of the arbitrator is final and the couple agree to be bound by that decision.
As your solicitor we would prepare your case for arbitration and be by your side every step of the way.