People often assume that there will be court battles when going through a relationship breakdown. In fact, the majority of separated couples are able to come to an agreement and there are various means of achieving this.
One way is to resolve matters is through negotiations between solicitors either in correspondence or in what are referred to as ‘round-table’ meetings. Once an agreement is reached, it will be signed and submitted to the court for approval, without you having to attend court.
Another option is mediation. Mediation is a cost effective and practical way of resolving your dispute.
It can be used effectively to achieve an agreement on how assets should be divided, and to agree the arrangements for children on separation, but can also be used to resolve anything else that you wish to include. An impartial mediator will meet with you and your spouse together to facilitate discussions and guide you towards reaching an agreement. It is cheaper than the court process and as it encourages communication, you are much more likely to stay on good terms with one another. Mediation is voluntary but it is also strongly encouraged by the courts. Attending a Mediation Information session (known as a MIAM) is compulsory before issuing finance or children proceedings, unless you qualify for an exemption. Please see our Family Law page.
Finally, parties can agree to appoint an arbitrator who will then make a binding ruling on the issues concerned. You and your partner would each have lawyers, but you then select an independent arbitrator to resolve your dispute. The arbitrator’s decision is then binding. Arbitration can be used to resolve all financial issues resulting from a relationship breakdown. The arbitrator can deal with the entire financial situation, or can be asked to consider one discrete point which may be a stumbling block to resolution.