Alternatives to court

The breakdown of a relationship can be harrowing, and made more distressing by the prospect of taking matters to court. Once that step has been taken, any residual goodwill towards the other person often disappears – with an effect on families that can cause further rifts.  There are alternatives to the Court process which may be appropriate in certain circumstances including:-

Collaborative law

Collaborative law a way to seek to resolve family disputes without the pressures of court proceedings. It involves face-to-face meetings between you and your partner – each of you being represented by a solicitor to find agreeable solutions.

The benefits can include:

  • no courtroom animosity
  • no final judge’s decision
  • you set the agenda on issues most relevant to you
  • the proceedings are confidential, not aired in public
  • collaborative law can be less costly
  • lower emotional impact on you and your children

We have collaborative lawyers who can assist you in the resolution of financial matters, and/or the arrangements for your children following the breakdown of your relationship.



Mediation is essentially a discussion between you and your partner with a third person present to assist with that discussion.  It is not designed to get you back together as a couple: it’s designed to get you talking to try and agree a way forward together.

Mediation is normally done without a lawyer present but it is usually wise to speak to a lawyer first so that you can be sure you understand the issues, and have a clear idea of what ideally you would like to achieve.  If you would prefer, it is often possible to have solicitor attended mediation or “shuttle mediation” where you remain in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between you.

If you do reach an understanding in mediation, it is still important to speak with your solicitor to ensure that the understanding is formalised because the agreement reached in mediation is not binding.



Arbitration involves appointing an arbitrator to make a decision about the arrangements for your children, and/or resolution of any disagreement regarding finances.  Both you and your partner would need to agree to arbitration, and the decision would be final and binding.



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