Dispute Resolution – Resolving Family Disputes

What are the options available to discuss and resolve matters with my spouse/partner?

First, give some thought to where you and your spouse/partner may be on an emotional level. Our team of family solicitors can advise you on the most appropriate method and course of action to resolve family disputes.

We believe in advising you on all of your options –  and there are more than you might think when it comes to avoiding the traditional court process.

In this short video, family solicitor and collaborative lawyer Alan Larkin sets out some of the options:


The Stages of Grief

  • There are various stages of grief:- Shock and denial → Anger → Bargaining → Depression → Acceptance
  • Take a moment and give some thought to where you are at this point in time. Now try and think which stage your spouse/partner is experiencing. How long has it taken you to work through the stages you can identify with? The process can take two years and more.
  • Your spouse/partner is unlikely to be at the same point in the process as you and you will need to take this into account. This may put into perspective questions that are often asked e.g. why aren’t they moving on? why don’t they want to talk and settle matters?

The Seven Levels of Separation

In essence we experience seven levels of separation:-

  • Emotional
  • Physical and practical
  • Legal
  • Financial
  • Parenting
  • Social/wider family
  • Inner/spiritual

So assuming both you and your spouse/partner are able to start thinking about longer term solutions what are the options?

  • Kitchen table – i.e. you and your spouse/partner having informal discussions about what you are going to do. You may need legal advice to see whether the options are sensible and/or to implement what has been agreed;
  • Mediation – you will both see a mediator who will facilitate the discussions and then provide a written record of what was discussed, what information was disclosed and what agreement was reached (agreements reached within mediation are not legally binding unless and until approved by the court). The process can help to ensure the discussions are more structured and focused. You may need advice on the terms agreed and the implementation of the order;
  • Collaborative – through a series of meetings with your Collaborative Lawyers set against a background of having identified what you are both looking to achieve discussions take place and in an open way everyone looks at ways of achieving what you both want. You control the process, the agenda etc and do so against a positive commitment not to go to court. This may help your longer term relationship. Third parties can be brought in to assist the discussions;
  • Co-operative – correspondence/possibly round table meetings with lawyers leading to terms being agreed;
  • Court-based – i.e. the use of the court process (albeit trying to reach an agreement without the cost of all the hearings).

Do you feel you and your partner could work together, rather than against one another, to consider the options and try and find workable solutions to resolve a family dispute? Our team of family solicitors will discuss all the options with you, what we feel would best suit your requirements and the circumstances of your case. We will discuss what the alternatives are likely to cost so you can make an informed decision.

If you would like an appointment with one of our specialists then please contact our team on 01273 646900.