Chris Maulkin is a Solicitor at Family Law Partners

One of the most important things to the majority of people today is choice.  The ability to choose who governs us, what we eat and what we wear is fundamental to our wellbeing.  When we buy a car there are different manufacturers, different models and different ways of customising them.  The same applies when you buy a house, you choose the location, number of bedrooms, whether it has outside space, how you want to decorate it etc.  Indeed, if you were offered a house and couldn’t decorate it or modify it in anyway then probably most people’s reaction would be to buy somewhere else.

However, the feeling of a lack of choice is often a situation that some people find themselves in when they are navigating their way through a family dispute. This blog outlines some of the areas that are worth considering if you want to increase the number of options you have as to how your family dispute is resolved.

Resolution

Is your lawyer a member of Resolution? Resolution is an organisation which promotes a non-confrontational approach to resolving family disputes.  The benefits to adopting this approach is not something which is covered within this blog but from my experience, wherever possible, this is by far the best approach for the family involved.  If your lawyer is a member of Resolution it does not mean that they are not capable of representing you in court proceedings or that they will fail to protect your interests; what it does mean is that they have made a commitment to try and resolve matters in a non-confrontational way as much as possible.

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What alternatives to Court should your lawyer offer?

There are a variety of options which can be used to avoid Court proceedings including:

It is not possible for your lawyer or their firm to offer mediation or arbitration services as well as representing you because this would be a conflict of interest.  However a firm that offers these services is a good indicator of how they look to use alternative models to avoid court proceedings where possible for their clients.

What are the benefits?

There is not one approach that is going to be right for every family and having access to choice allows the parties to decide what is the right option for their particular family.  It may be that they decide they want to use a combination of alternative approaches to suit their particular circumstances.

The other benefit is that potentially it can allow the parties to retain more control over how their matter is dealt with rather than feeling railroaded into a process that they did not want to enter.

In my view, choice is almost always a good thing.  You may not want to exercise all the options that you have, but at least you can make a conscious decision and choose what is best for you and your family.

For more information about the different approaches to resolving family disputes that avoid costly and time consuming Court proceedings, please do get in touch.

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