In our continued promotion of “Good Divorce Week” we explore positive ways to resolve matters and help reduce conflict. Whilst the divorce process presently requires one party to issue a petition there are various alternative dispute resolution options available in how to approach the issue of divorce and how to progress with the case which often ties in with also having to deal with financial and children issues and these are as follows:-
- Kitchen table – where both parties seek to negotiate directly on divorce, financial and children matters. This could be with the assistance of background advice from Solicitors. Often conversations over the kitchen table mean that both parties may not be certain that whatever they discuss will work but it is agreed that they will help strengthen the links of communication between both parties and often applying constructive communication between the parties leads to the matter being resolved a lot quicker and this also has a positive impact on legal fees and puts both parties in a better communicative position in terms of co-parenting the children.
- Mediation – this involves one neutral legally trained Mediator sitting in a room with both parties helping them reach solutions on divorce and financial matters as well as children matters. The Mediator’s job is to control the environment, and ensure that both parties feel that an even handed approach is applied. Background advice can be provided by the parties’ respective Solicitors both pre and post appointments to assist with the process.
- Collaborative working or “roundtable” – this involves discussion with both parties being in attendance and being supported by Solicitors. If applying a collaborative process both parties sign up to a Participation Agreement indicating that if the process breaks down then the parties would start again but in a different process and with different Solicitors. This can certainly have the effect of focusing both parties’ minds and should help break any impasse that develops. Working roundtable but adopting a quasi-collaborative style means that whilst a Participation Agreement may not be required, the process is similar insofar as both parties remain committed to progressing matters on an issue-led basis. Both parties agree an agenda before any appointment and by dealing with such issues in a methodical issue-led way tends to produce outcomes that are more satisfactory for both parties.
All of these methods are only effective if both parties commit to positive communication and a willingness to compromise. To take a non-adversarial approach to issues which may have caused the marriage breakdown is not easy, but if both parties understand that by working together, common ground can be established and that retaining autonomy over decisions which will affect their future can be key in resolving matters without the need for Court intervention. It goes without saying that these alternative dispute resolution methods are often quicker, avoid delay and can be more cost effective than Court-led process.
Kerseys Family Law Solicitors offers tailored-made solutions for divorcing and separating couples. Whilst our standard working day is 9.00am to 17.15pm, our Family Lawyers are flexible to support your needs and will if possible arrange out of hours online appointments for you, visit our web site and click “Call Me Back” to request a free call back or telephone us on Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584 or email us at [email protected]