Family Dispute Resolution Week… divorcing #abetterway

This week is Family Dispute Resolution Week, an awareness-raising campaign organised by Resolution* (formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association) to highlight the alternatives to court for separating couples and their families.

Some 60% of all family court proceedings currently before the courts are being managed without legal assistance; causing huge backlogs and frequently a lack of understanding around how judges deal with divorces, financial matters and matters relating to children. Without proper legal advice, it is not uncommon for both parties to feel they have been unfairly treated or ignored. This can lead to ill-feelings and resentment; as well as extra stresses for a couple when they are trying to deal with a case themselves.

Family law changed in April 2014 and there is now a compulsory requirement introduced which means that couples considering issuing family proceedings – regardless of whether these relate to financial matters or children – are required to consider attending a mediation information session. The courts are anxious to see if cases can be kept out of litigation and whether dispute resolution might be a better alternative.

Collaborative law is one of the options available as an alternative to dealing with a case  as a contested matter before a judge. The advantage of collaborative law is that the parties receive detailed and practical legal advice and support along the way. In addition, this process remains private, unlike hearings before a court, to which media and members of the public have a limited right of access.

The collaborative law process also enables other experts to provide independent advice as and when required. This can assist where, for example, there is a dispute over a family run business. Once more, any advice provided in a collaborative law setting remains private.

If you are interested in hearing more about Family Dispute Resolution Week, then do keep an eye on our Twitter feed @CollabLawManc. We would be grateful for your support in helping us to increase awareness of collaborative practice by retweeting our tweets, and links to this blog. You can also keep up with national news reports and activities supporting the campaign by following the two dedicated hashtags; which are #abetterway and #ResolutionWeek.

Thank you for your support!

*Resolution supports and encourages the use of collaborative approaches to family law matters, and its members are dedicated to, and trained in best practice. Resolution is a member organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other related professionals and operates across England and Wales.