“We want a divorce but don’t want to go to Court.” This is something that we, as family lawyers hear with increasing frequency. A Divorce can only be granted by a Court. However, frequently this is not a contentious issue and is often easily agreed. The difficulties are more often the other aspects of separation notably where children are to live, contact arrangements, maintenance and division of assets.
For many couples who have gone through the anguish of a relationship breakdown, the last thing they want is to end up in Court and have a Judge, who is a stranger to the couple and their children, decide these issues. There are alternatives.
Most reputable solicitors will encourage their clients to avoid contested Court Proceedings where possible.
Some couples are able to negotiate direct and agree appropriate arrangements for their children and settlement of financial claims – although for many the support and assistance that can be afforded by a family law specialist is essential.
For others there is mediation where the couple meet with a qualified Mediator who assists in negotiations of settlement of the issues between them.
Another is collaborative law, a relatively new and less confrontational approach and one that is increasingly popular. When using the collaborative approach, each party is represented by their own solicitor and issues are negotiated and agreed at “four way meetings” with both parties and their solicitor present. Family Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer Andy Stynes says, “Many couples find that either using the collaborative process or mediation means that they remain in full control of the settlement process.”
Therefore there are realistic alternatives available to a separating couple who wish to resolve their differences out of Court.
We have offices in the Christchurch, New Milton and the New Forest. Our Family team also coverBournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat or appointment, please call 01202 499255 and Andy or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.