The divorce court process can often be overwhelming for some, and settling issues through alternatives to family court is often a better option for everyone involved. Every family unit is unique, and the way each family chooses to resolve divorce issues will differ.
Familial breakdown can be a difficult and stressful time for a lot of families, and the court process only accentuates these stresses. Alternatives to family court can include mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration; these platforms can help to resolve a number of issues surrounding finances, property, and children.
3 Alternatives to Family Court:
Mediation is the process whereby a third and impartial party assists disputing parties in resolving conflicting issues. Mediation can help both parties reach an agreement about disputed issues that surround a separation. Issues that can be resolved throughout mediation include finances, children, and communication.
Mediators are impartial and therefore should never advise you on any matters. It is also important to seek legal advice alongside any agreements made throughout the mediation process. Any agreements reached throughout mediation are not legally enforceable unless the terms are drafted onto a consent order and approved by a judge. Due to the fact that agreements made in mediation aren’t legally binding, the terms proposed can be changed as many times as needed in order to suit both parties; however, either party can defy the terms without legal repercussions. Furthermore, if either party is unemployed, has a low income, or receives state benefits, you may be eligible for free mediation.
Collaborative family law involves negotiating on a face-to-face basis with your ex-partner with the help of your lawyer. This alternative resolution is used to settle financial issues that perhaps weren’t resolved throughout divorce proceedings or to negotiate child arrangements.
This approach is a great way to avoid the stresses of divorce court while still utilizing the knowledge and experience of legal representatives. However, it can become expensive if the process is prolonged and a mutual agreement is not made. Both parties and trained collaborative lawyers must be present at each negotiation, while psychologists and counselors may attend in order to support either party if it is beneficial to the process.
Once an agreement has been made and finalized among both parties, a consent order will be drawn up and sent to a judge for approval, which will make the terms of the agreement legally binding. However, despite their best efforts, not all parties can come to a mutual agreement through the process of collaborative law.
After negotiations surrounded finances, either party can then apply for financial relief after the failed attempt at collaborative law. Similarly, parties who negotiated the arrangement and primary custody of a child can then apply for a child arrangement order. If either party chooses to pursue further legal action, a different solicitor must assist any new court case.
The arbitration process refers to a legally trained and qualified arbitrator making an impartial and legally binding decision based on the division of financial assets. Although the process itself is voluntary, once your chosen arbitrator makes a legally binding decision, it cannot be contested unless it was thought to be biased in the favor of a particular party.
The arbitrator will collect and consider all the evidence presented to them by each party and then make an impartial decision reflective of this and the state’s divorce law. Arbitration is thought to be a cost-effective solution that is cheaper than the cost of going to court, especially in the long run. Should you decide that arbitration is the best alternative process for you, it is important that you consider the fees and whether it is a viable option. The cost of arbitration can include the fees of the arbitrator, the cost of venue hire, and individual legal fees.
Once the arbitrator has come to a conclusion on how financial assets should be divided, a consent order with such terms is submitted to the court in order for it to become finalized and legally binding.
With many appealing alternatives to the divorce court process and something to suit everyone’s budget, there is no need to go through the stress of divorce court anymore. The varieties of resolutions now in place ensure that no matter what your legal situation, there is a platform to help settle all issues.
Midlands Dove are mediation specialists with an experienced team of mediators who can advise on family, divorce, workplace, and civil/commercial mediation throughout Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in the UK.