What are your options with a marriage breakdown?

Guest blog from Edward Cooke of Edward Cooke Family Law

If you are going through separation or divorce, it is vital that you are aware of all the options available to you for resolving matters. Court proceedings are sometimes unavoidable, but in the vast majority of cases it is possible to resolve matters without recourse to the court.

There are a number of options available:

  • Negotiation

Negotiating an agreement, with or without professional advice from solicitors, is an option. However, if you reach a “kitchen table” agreement, you should still seek independent legal advice, as otherwise there is a risk the agreement may not be upheld.

  • Mediation

Mediation is a process whereby an impartial mediator meets with you to assist you in reaching an agreement over all issues, whether financial issues or relating to your children. The mediator will recommend that you seek advice from your own solicitors during the mediation process. The mediator can also meet with the children to ascertain their wishes and feelings.

  • Collaborative Practice

In the Collaborative Law process, each person appoints their own collaboratively-trained lawyer and resolves issues through a series of face-to-face meetings. The focus in on reaching a tailored agreement to meet the family’s needs. Other professionals often assist, such as a family consultant and a financial advisor.

  • Arbitration

In family arbitration, an arbitrator is appointed by the couple to make a final and binding decision, whether in relation to finances or children issues.

  • Court process

The court process is necessary where one party behaves in such a way that none of the non-court options are viable. The court will set a clear timetable for resolution and the focus will still be on resolving matters without the need for a fully contested hearing.  Emergency applications can be made to address urgent issues.

To find out more, please see www.ecfamilylaw.co.uk or call Edward Cooke on 01243 769001.