Issues regarding finances and children are not dealt with automatically when a divorce is finalised, and the separating couple are encouraged to come to an agreement between themselves.
Resolution out of Court
Financial disputes and arguments about children that reach the courts can often be costly and stressful compared to other solutions. Dispute resolution outside court can reduce both the time required and your costs, as well as offering greater privacy and the chance to avoid long-drawn-out court proceedings. At Wainwright & Cummins we recognise the benefits of other appropriate forms of dispute resolution. Our team of solicitors includes well regarded mediators and collaborative lawyers who can advise on the most appropriate form of dispute resolution in an attempt to avoid court proceedings.
When both parties agree to arbitrate their financial or child disputes, they appoint a suitably qualified person to arbitrate. They accept that the arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding and that, if necessary, they will need to apply to court for an order to give effect to it.
Mediation is a voluntary process of negotiation with your partner about the practical effect of separation, and which the courts actively encourage. You and your partner meet with a family mediator who is an impartial third person, to discuss your issues in a safe and non judgmental environment. The mediator will assist those involved to communicate better and to help them to reach their own agreed and informed decisions about some or all of the issues arising from the divorce such as finance, property and arrangements for the children. The mediator will help you to firstly identify just what those issues are, then guide you towards finding solutions during face-to-face discussions. The offers that are exchanged in the mediation process are “without prejudice” – i.e. they are private and cannot be reported to the Court. The mediator cannot impose a decision on either party. The intention is to encourage openness and a willingness to negotiate, with both parties working towards a settlement.
Both parties and their solicitors commit to reaching solutions by agreement rather than through the courts. Face-to-face communication between the parties can help to reduce costs and improve the chances of working together well in the future.
Going to court
Sometimes there is no alternative. If it is not possible to agree on arrangements regarding your finances and the children, it will be necessary to go to Court. The court no longer makes “custody” or “access” orders automatically when a divorce is finalised. It is only when a separating couple do not agree about arrangements for the children, such as with whom the children should live or how often they should see the absent parent that the courts become involved. If no agreement can be reached, orders can be applied for by either parent. For example, a Child Arrangement Order can make clear who the children should live with or set out the arrangements for children to see the absent parent. If this is relevant in your case, we will discuss this with you further.
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