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Is it really arguments all the time?

Published on Sep 6, 2019

Sadly, some relationships come to an end, but does it always involve lots of arguments or are there other, more amicable ways to resolve the situation?

We try as much as possible to resolve situations amicably.  It isn’t often that we suggest involving the Court, although sometimes this is necessary.  We will always encourage you to try to reach an agreement. Our Head of Matrimonial, Nicola Gibbs, explains some way in which you can avoid Court proceedings. 

We offer a free initial, no obligation meeting, where we can explain any of the options below in more detail for you. 

Mediation

This is probably the most common process for agreeing everything amicably.  During mediation, an independent mediator will meet with you both and try to facilitate an agreement.  

If you are trying to resolve a financial settlement, the mediator will go through a process of gathering financial information, so that everyone is clear on what there is.  After that process, the mediator will then encourage discussions as to how best to resolve the financial separation. 

A mediator can’t advise you as to the best way to resolve the situation as that will compromise their independence.  We work closely with our clients at mediation and advise them on possible options for settling matters.  Often taking advice alongside mediation, will help you both reach an agreement, as you will know your options and feel confident through the process. 

Collaborative law

This process enables you to work together with lawyers present in a series of meetings to reach an agreement on various issues.  This can be used in a variety of scenarios but is most often used in separation, divorce, financial settlements and agreeing arrangements for your children. It can even be used for happy circumstances such as before marriage to undertake a pre-nuptial agreement and can offer a more holistic approach.

The process involves a series of meetings with each parties’ lawyers present who will advise you as you discuss the situation together.  It is designed to be a very open process with the advice being discussed openly at the meetings rather than individual advice being given ‘behind closed doors’. It is client rather than lawyer directed to try to resolve matters as you both would hope for.

Everyone (including the lawyers) sign an agreement at the outset committing to resolving the issues away from Court proceedings.  If the collaborative process breaks down, your lawyer cannot represent you at Court due to the commitment they have made, however in many cases is very successful. 

Margaret Sculpher, a Senior Solicitor in our Matrimonial team, is a Collaborative trained lawyer who can advise and support you through the collaborative process. 

Round table meetings

This does what it says on the tin!  It is quite literally meetings between you both and your lawyers, whereby you negotiate and try to reach a settlement. 

The round tables are different to collaborative law as we would act to try to negotiate on your behalf, rather than supporting you to reach an agreement at the meeting yourself.  

The meetings are often used towards the end of the divorce when we have a couple of issues that are outstanding rather than starting from scratch.  It could be very expensive to attempt to resolve all issues with just round table meetings and could be unnecessary as we may be able to reach an agreement without a meeting at all!

Arbitration

This is an alternative to Court proceedings, but is a similar process to Court, in that you ask an Arbitrator to decide how you should resolve your situation, which you would then be bound by.

This is used if you would prefer not to go to Court but really where you can’t reach an agreement.  In some situations, it will be used on all issues that are outstanding, but often it can be used to decide one or two issues in isolation where you may have reached agreement on everything else. 

Private negotiation meetings (known as FDR meetings)

These are meetings, where you both privately employ a Judge to listen to the detail of your financial or other situation and hear your viewpoints as to how everything should be resolved.  The Judge will then give their indications as to how they would settle your situation if they were making a ruling. 

After the Judge has given indications, we try to negotiate and resolve the situation further.  This is often a very productive way to resolve the situation without being involved in long Court proceedings. 

This provides some examples of how we can resolve the situation and the answer is ‘no, it really isn’t all about arguments!’
 

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