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Divorce can be a stressful and distressing time, so choosing the right option to end your relationship and the right process (as well as the right divorce solicitors) can be a challenge. But it’s vitally important.
Often the individual personal circumstances will determine which process will be adopted. We are committed to non-adversarial approaches to resolving matters and encourage the use of mediation and collaborative law wherever possible.
Only divorce can formally end a marriage. An alternative to formally ending the relationship would be a formal or informal separation.
It is a common myth that divorce is always dealt with in the same way (often ugly, emotionally fraught, and usually expensive!). There are in fact there are a number of different options available to you, if you and your partner are looking to divorce.
If you and your spouse are able to communicate effectively, reaching agreement by way of informal discussions might be a suitable option. This approach is often referred to as the ‘kitchen table’ approach. The benefit of using this process is that it can be cost effective. However, it is not suitable for everyone and will depend on how well you are communicating with your spouse and the level of trust you have in each other. We strongly advise that any agreement reached using this method be discussed with a specialist family solicitor who can advise you of the implications of the agreement reached. We recommend that any informal agreement reached be drawn up as a legally binding agreement.
Mediation is a process whereby a trained mediator speaks with you and your spouse separately first with the aim of moving towards a joint meeting with you both to discuss what arrangements can be made for the future. Mediation is voluntary, confidential and can be a very cost-effective process.
In the meetings the mediator will guide you through discussions to help you both to explain what you want to happen and eventually reach an agreement. Mediation can be used as a process to discuss the divorce and contents of the divorce petition, the document that starts the divorce including the basis of the petition. Information regarding the five facts that can be relied upon for the divorce can be found in the post ‘Step-by-Step Guide to Divorce’
Alongside the mediation process we recommend seeking legal advice in order to understand your options and the implications of any agreement reached. We also advocate involving a third party such as a family consultant or financial expert to assist with mediation discussions. Involving a family consultant can complement family mediation by assisting separating couples to navigate their way through the divorce process by providing practical guidance and emotional support.
The collaborative process is a process whereby you, your spouse and respectively instructed collaboratively trained lawyers meet all together with the aim of enabling negotiation to reach a constructive and fair resolution to the issues.
The process requires a shared commitment to avoid adversarial processes, it facilitates open discussion and provides an opportunity for spouses to work together with their collaborative lawyers to find a constructive solution.
The purpose of solicitor led negotiation is to try and reach an agreement through solicitors’ correspondence on the issues that need to be resolved.
The methods that can be used as part of solicitor led negotiation are usually to correspond by letter or telephone but sometimes ’round-table’ meetings can also be effective (whereby the parties and their solicitors meet together) .
Whichever option you consider might be appropriate for you, our team of specialist family solicitors are highly experienced and will work with you to make an informed decision.