As mentioned in “Should I use a solicitor for my divorce?” instructing a solicitor does not automatically mean you will end up in court with protracted, drawn out divorce proceedings.
There are a number of other alternatives, and which one of these is best for you depends on your individual circumstances.
Below I’m briefly going to look at 3 areas:
Firstly, mediation. In mediation an independent mediator will meet with both you & your partner to help resolve the difficulties in any area you haven’t yet been able to agree on. Your solicitor can also be present in these meetings if you wish.
There is one mediator acting for both parties.. The mediator is there, not to take sides, but to help you both reach agreement. After this, you then discuss the proposals with your individual solicitor.
Since April 2011 there is a requirement that anyone wanting to go to court should attend a meeting with a mediator to consider other options. This meeting is called MIAMs- Mediation Information Assessment Meeting.
Turning now to collaborative law. With this option, each party appoints their own collaboratively trained solicitor. All issues are dealt with by face to face meetings with your spouse and the 2 solicitors. So, it’s a 4 way, round table negotiation.
The aim of collaborative law is to achieve a fair outcome for both parties, without the need to go to court.
As a result, both you and your solicitor will sign an agreement that you aim to resolve your issues without taking court action. If this isn’t possible and the collaborative process breaks down you must instruct a new solicitor for the court proceedings.
Finally we have Family Law Arbitration. With this option, you and your partner appoint a qualified arbitrator to make a decision as to a fair outcome. This decision is final and binding.
Using this option, family disputes can be resolved more quickly and in a less formal setting than a courtroom. If you and your partner have agreed on the majority of issues but have a specific area where you haven’t yet managed to reach agreement, you could, for example, use arbitration for this specific area only.
What is highlighted above is that there are a number of options for going through divorce using a solicitor, without the need for a long drawn out court process. Discuss with your solicitor which option is most suitable for you.