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Insights - 28/11/2022

Good Divorce Week | Alternative Dispute Resolution

It’s Good Divorce week – so what is a good divorce?

The concept of divorcing well may seem out of reach for couples as they deal with the emotional fallout of the end of their relationship but an increasing number of our clients come to us with clear instructions that maintaining a positive relationship with their former partner is an absolutely crucial part of their separation journey.

This is particularly important where there are children involved and where the couple are going to need to work together as co-parents even if they are no longer married.

The recent introduction of no fault divorce is a huge step forward and emphasises the move away from the adversarial procedures of old towards a greater focus on helping clients to find bespoke solutions that work for them and their family.

It is common knowledge that the family courts are struggling with a significant backlog of work and there are significant delays as a result. No doubt this has fed into the increased use of alternative dispute resolution (also known as ADR) but here at Morr & Co, we are seeing a greater number of clients whose choice to utilise ADR is a much more positive one.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution offers parties a greater sense of control over how the issues arising from their separation are resolved and we have significant experience in working with clients who choose to pursue alternatives to court.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution options below can offer guidance on a particular point of issue, freeing up the parties to go back to their negotiations (via solicitors or through mediation) or an indication or decision can be made covering all aspects of the case.

1. Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”)?

In this process, the parties ask a senior barrister or judge to give an opinion on the issues in dispute.

ENE can be sought on discrete issues, for example how inherited or pre-marital assets should be treated. It can also cover the full spectrum of issues in a case.

The expert instructed will assess the evidence presented and advise what they believe a court might decide. Its not binding but will assist the parties to reach settlement and can often avoid the cost and stress of litigation.

2. Arbitration

Once again, a senior barrister or judge is selected by the parties to consider the issues in dispute but unlike ENE, arbitration will result in a binding award which is recognised by the family court and can be converted into a court order.

With arbitration, the parties can decide the pace, timing and venue of the proceedings offering a much more convenient and comfortable experience than is available in our overloaded court system these days.

For many, the shared commitment to avoiding litigation provides reassurance that both parties want to resolve matters constructively and amicably which is a great first step towards achieving a good divorce.

If you have any questions, contact our specialist family lawyers who would be happy to help. To find out more about Good Divorce Week visit Resolutions website.


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